Beartown by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
My version of this novel is titled "The Scandal", "Beartown" was the title used for US publication. I think this alternate name provides a better clue to the content. You are also dragged along waiting for this scandal to happen. I say dragged as the major part of the book deals with the story of a small community deep in the Swedish forest struggling for survival and where the sport of ice hockey is everything. At the ice rink the junior team is preparing for the semi-finals in the national tournament, something that has never happened in recent history , promising the riches of national recognition and subsequent investment in the town.
The author quietly builds up to the match profiling the main characters and their relationships, this part is not a thrilling read but is compelling as you wait for the scandal.
It is a very good novel which examines the lives of people in a harsh and demanding environment, how can anyone live here during the long winter months without having some reason to stay. For them it is ice hockey.
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