Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman (Translated by Henning Koch) - review by Leonora Craig Cohen

Leonora Craig Cohen

Out & About

Britt-Marie Was Here

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Britt-Marie is tactless, persistent to the point of absurdity and, according to her husband, Kent, ‘socially incompetent’. She is not the sort of woman you would want to be stuck in a car with and one might dread being stuck in a book with her just as much. Over the course of Britt-Marie Was Here, Fredrik Backman does an impressive job of making the reader see her innate value, even if she never ceases to be a bit of a nuisance to those around her.

We first meet Britt-Marie sitting in an unemployment office, fretting over the proper arrangement of cutlery drawers and alienating the young woman who has been assigned to help her find a job. She has no education and hasn’t worked since 1978. Having just caught her husband cheating on her, she

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