The Winners

S. & S. Audio. (Beartown, Bk. 3). Sept. 2022. tr. from Swedish by Neil Smith. 21:22 hrs. ISBN 9781797144924. $29.99. F
“The problem with both hockey and life is that simple moments are rare.” Two years after the violent culmination of a turf war between Beartown and Hed, residents of both yearn to move forward. The invisible threads connecting them, however, keep pulling them back. The economic tables have turned, and Hed faces losing their hockey team, a source of income and pride, while Beartown hockey has a new roof and new hope for the future. As animosity builds, can they be stopped before their devastating and deadly history repeats itself? For Backman’s (Anxious People) third and final installment of his “Beartown” series (following Us Against You), those seeking a happy ending should prepare for heartbreak. Though Backman foreshadowed this finale, his moving tone and sympathetic characters dared readers to hope. Narrator Marin Ireland has been with “Beartown” from the beginning. Her sedate, straightforward delivery invites listeners to cling to every thought-provoking word. At 21 hours, the listening experience is a commitment, but a worthwhile one.
VERDICT This audio will appeal to listeners seeking an engrossing and emotional story that is simultaneously uplifting and unbearably tragic. Recommended for fans of Laurie Frankel, Anna Quindlen, and Hilma Wolitzer.
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