While some may disagree, IMO, a tremendous author whose every word counts. Without a doubt, Beartown's characters are tortured souls whose worlds revolve around small town hockey whether they want them to or not and, yet, they somehow survive. Mr. Backman immerses the reader deeply into each character's mind and emotions and forces you to not only feel what each individual felt, but to understand and empathize as well. I will agree with some of the other reviewers that while the back and forth time sequences could be confusing, choppy, and hard to follow at times......that some of the passages were not too clear as to whom or what event he was referring, I still was moved beyond words at the raw emotions this book evoked. Even though the beginning of the book did rehash some of the events of Beartown, it was a good reminder for me of what had previously transpired.....but remember also that if someone reads this book before Beartown, they would not have the insight as to the where and why of the characters. Bottom line is that Mr. Backman is tops on my list of authors and his work is unbeatable.