To continue my Backman streak, I read his novel released earlier this year, Beartown. This story is about the people of Beartown and their love for hockey. It consumes them: everyone plays hockey, everyone is a fan of the local club team, and everyone knows that hockey can make or break their hometown. This year, they finally have a chance at winning the finals. A victory could mean a new hockey training center, new businesses, more jobs, a better economy, and a better life for Beartown citizens. But after a horrific, violent incident, the town is threatened with losing their chance at revitalization. Some react to this with wisdom and grace, some with cowardice and anger. This is unlike any of Backman’s other novels. He deals with sensitive subject matter, and the overall tone is much darker, the characters more grittier. It’s an excellent story with complex characters and plot, and, like all his other novels, it is emotionally gripping. This novel reads like a culmination of his writing – crafting a tale more intricate and piercing than any before.