Us Against You Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Penguin presents the audiobook edition of Us Against You by Fredik Backman, read by John Sackville.
A small, broken town sits on the edge of a frozen lake surrounded by a forest, its wounds still raw from a tragedy that tore its fragile community in two.
Beartown has lost its way. Now the cold and dark that surround the snowbound town creep in, and so do new conflicts and tensions. What was once a friendly rivalry with the neighbouring town is beginning to turn sinister and Beartown braces itself for another tragic blow.
How far will the people of Beartown go to preserve their reputations for a second, deadly time?
Us Against You is a spell-binding exposition of small-town life in all its flawed complexity.
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|Listening Length||13 hours and 47 minutes|
|Audible.in Release Date||14 June 2018|
|Publisher||Penguin Books Ltd|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #2,830 in Audible Audiobooks & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Audiobooks & Originals) |
#3 in Sports Fiction
#6 in Small Town & Rural Fiction
#34 in Psychological Thrillers
Reviews with images
Top reviews from India
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What I’ve grown to love most about Backman is his choice of contemporary themes. In every book he writes about the society we live in and the duality of human nature - how good people can be good in many ways and yet carry prejudice in others, and how the ‘not-so-goods’ can on occasion rise above theirs. The imperfection that characterises us as humans comes through brilliantly in his characters, without judgment or justification. He tells it like it is in our times and nowhere more than in this book, where he writes about violence, rape, friendship, loyalty, love, forgiveness, hubris and compromise among other things.
As usual he uses sport as a metaphor, ice-hockey in this case. Backman is the only author who can make an utterly non-sporting gal like me read a book that is on the surface all about sport! Only on the surface though. He makes the sport and the town that depends on that sport for its very existence come alive. I can very easily imagine a town like Beartown and everything that happens there is utterly believable - the good, the bad and the ugly.
In this book I particularly liked the way Backman weaves politics and politicians into the narrative. I enjoy his style as always - he builds up a scenario that initially seems random, only to make a specific point after a few pages! The narrative is as always layered and fast-paced making for a very compelling and satisfying read. I read this book in a day, like I read all his books. There’s an undercurrent of foreboding in this book right from the start that hooked me in and kept me turning the pages! I could feel that something terrible was around the corner but couldn’t quite put my finger on whom or when. When the events did take place, Backman had me so invested in these characters that it was gut-wrenching. That’s what I call great writing!
This book is in many ways a mirror of the times we live in and the reflections are very often disturbing. But hope springs eternal and that’s why us humans labour on, doing what we can to make sense of this chaos that we call Life! Us Against You is ultimately about us and our indomitable human spirit and it is about the price we’re prepared to pay to survive as individuals and as a community.
An excellent read 😊
Beartown #2 is not a story.. it's rather a journey.. you arrive at Beartown at a certain point of time, witness everything that happens around and you leave the town at another point of time.. you live in Beartown this entire time! When i was reading Beartown #1 last year, i was going through a very hard time.. the book helped me pass through it.. because i was living in Beartown! This year too, i was going through a hard time and Beartown #2 rescued me!
I probably cannot express enough.. but Fredrik Backman's writing style is extraordinary! He sketches each character so minutely and so beautifully that you cannot help but fall in love with each one of them! Each one is different and each one is so normal! They are just like us! Each one has the good and the evil in them.. no one is perfect! And the story telling.. wow! You expect it to be fairy tale like.. it does not.. but you still leave Beartown with a smile on your face!
Top reviews from other countries
Fredrik Backman is a wonderful storyteller. It almost feels as if you’re sitting in a pub with someone who’s telling you the story of Beartown and I once again became utterly invested in the lives of these characters, hurting with them and rooting for them. They wormed their way into my heart from the start and I won’t be forgetting any of them in a hurry.
Beautifully written and incredibly captivating, Us Against You is as much of a gem as Beartown/The Scandal is and it has caused another massive book hangover. I’m quietly hoping for a third instalment in this series. There are more stories to tell, I’m sure, but quite frankly, I’d take any excuse to return to Beartown.
As with his previous novel however, Backman touches on so many issues that are hidden within a commmunity; both the large and the small, the good and the bad. He has a way with words and sometimes his words really do just take your breath away. Sometimes I found myself re-reading a paragraph for exactly that reason. And at the finale, he knows how to use those same words to break your heart into a thousand pieces. Backman's writing makes most other authors look clumsy in comparison and his characterisations can make you weep.
But it still didn't quite hit the pinacle of Beartown and there's possibly a couple of reasons for that. Firstly, the tone is far less innocent I suppose. Whereas Beartown is all surrounded by individuals actions and the way they can spiral a situation out of control, Us Against You is just as heavily based on one mans ability to manipulate a series of situations and a variety of people. All of the events were far more calculated and whilst that made for a good read, it didn't make for the spell-binding read that Beartown was. Beartown didn't need a single individual's meddling fingers to keep the events spiralling... this did, and that detracted from the tone of the novel quite a bit for me.
I also found the constant active foretelling of something dark on the horizon to be somewhat tedious after a while, particularly when everything is so slowly paced. Whereas with Beartown you get build up and repurcussions in almost equal proportion with the events spiralling out of control somewhere in the middle, here it is nearly all build up. It's well written build up and it showcases the characters beautifully, but it's missing something. And when I hit the finale, I won't deny that I cried, but somehow I can't help but feel that the book wasn't quite balanced as perfectly as Beartown.
But at the same time, this still reflects some of the greatest lights within humanity at the same time as it shines a glow on some of the darkest. It is still beautifully written with passages that will haunt me for long to come. It is still a novel about humanity; about loss and love, marriage and belonging, community and hatred. It still has those astonishing nuances and interlinking characters, with stories that spill over unwillingly into others lives. It's still a story about ice hockey and it is still so much more than that. Is it Beartown? No, not quite. Is it worth something in and of itself however? Yes, beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Once again its so compelling and I was immediately drawn into Beartown and Backman really draws you in to the community. Once more, I felt that I lived and had grown up in this town.
The writing is beautiful and there is so much heart and emotion. It really is special.
This book focused less on the hockey and more on the people. I think 'Beartown' had a greater balance and ultimately a more believable story.
I felt that the author wanted to develop the stories of the people of Beartown but may have been better served doing a few more books as this one has such a lot going on and it felt a bit busy at times.
The writing is incredible and teh charcaters are brilliant. I can really pay the book and the author no greater compliment than to say that despite being based in the North of England that 'WE ARE THE BEARS FROM BEARTOWN
Without a doubt, my favourite character is Benji. Benji is violent, stubborn, and deeply flawed and is the moral, destructive compass of the book. My fellow readers agreed and throughout the book I found myself chanting 'Not Benji, Not Benji, Not Benji' like some Yoga mantra. Benji is the heart of this book and the violence meted out on him is hard to read at times.
But even the other characters are human, flawed and fully rounded - a vicious gossip who will always quietly cook food for anyone who dealing with a bereavement; a taciturn father who will read the Harry Potter stories to his children at night as he learns to live without his wife; a grizzled bar-owner who is the town's mother and a boy with impulse control who just wants to play hockey and is tentatively embarking on his first relationship. The characters are not good or bad, there are no 'black hats or white hats' here. These are deeply human, deeply flawed but all with a core of humanity. They could be one of us, our friends, family or neighbours.
Backman, just as in Beartown writes beautiful, strong women; Ramona, Maya, Ana and Benji's 3 wonderful Sisters. All working to stay alive, survivors. I believed in every single one of them.
Let me talk about 'The Pack' - a group of Beartown Hockey's toughest supporters, violent and yet all brothers in arms, they stood up for Maya and her father, Peter after the events of the previous book. The hate the rival town of Hed and its hockey team and this spills into a wider conflict - a fight for jobs and economic recovery. All stage-managed by puppet-master Richard Theo.
The writing about relationships is beautiful and sensitive. Peter and Kira are struggling and this is all depicted with the metaphor of 2 wine-glasses turning into a single glass. Both craving a moment to sit and just be with each other, but pulled apart by events, and dealing with those on their own.
This is a novel about the power of sport, how sport and rivalry can spill into violence and hatred. But ultimately how it can unite and bring love through a shared love of the sport. I defy you not to have a tear in your eye when one team and its supporters, truly broken are uplifted and supported by their greatest rivals.
Throughout there is a sense of dread with this novel. I found myself waiting for a punch that I knew was coming. I was truly reading with a heavy load on my back and there was relief in the release. It's hard, yet beautiful.
I'm awarding this book 4.75 stars. It nearly was another 5 Star read, but at the start I felt that the first few chapters needed to settle into itself. It is a measure of how good the author is, that I have come to expect only perfection. Also, there was relatively little of another of my favourite characters Amat, and his dignified mother, who I adored in this previous book, but this is really nit-picking now.
The rest of the novel is wonderful, awful, emotional and terrifying all at the same time. I loved this and it was an excellent and suitable follow-up to Beartown.