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The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared [Mass Market Paperback]

Jonas Jonasson
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7,495 customer reviews)

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Book Description

24 Sep 2013
It all starts on the one-hundredth birthday of Allan Karlsson. Sitting quietly in his room in an old people's home, he is waiting for the party he-never-wanted-anyway to begin. The Mayor is going to be there. The press is going to be there. But, as it turns out, Allan is not - Slowly but surely Allan climbs out of his bedroom window, into the flowerbed (in his slippers) and makes his getaway. And so begins his picaresque and unlikely journey involving criminals, several murders, a suitcase full of cash, and incompetent police. As his escapades unfold, we learn something of Allan's earlier life in which - remarkably - he helped to make the atom bomb, became friends with American presidents, Russian tyrants, and Chinese leaders, and was a participant behind the scenes in many key events of the twentieth century. The Swedish film, produced by Nice Entertainment and FLX Film and distributed by StudioCanal will release in the UK in early 2014.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion Books; Int edition (24 Sep 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786891459
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786891450
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 10.7 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7,495 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 175,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Imaginative, laugh-out-loud bestseller' The Telegraph

'Fast-moving and relentlessly sunny... Like Allan, the plot is pleasingly nimble and the book's endearing charm offers a happy alternative to the more familiar Nordic noir' The Guardian'

'A mordantly funny and loopily freewheeling debut novel about ageing disgracefully' The Sunday Times

'We can't wait to finally escape into this feelgood tale' Stylist

'Completely crazy, an incredibly funny story' Aftonbladet, Sweden

'First-rate' Der Spiegel, Germany

'Completely crazy, an incredibly funny story' Germany 'Swedish black comic novel that reads like a road trip with Forrest Gump at the wheel', Netherlands --Reviews

'First-rate' --Der Spiegel, Germany

'Completely crazy, an incredibly funny story' Germany 'Swedish black comic novel that reads like a road trip with Forrest Gump at the wheel', Netherlands --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Jonas Jonasson was born in Sweden in 1962. He has a professional background as a journalist and media consultant. The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared is his first novel which Jonasson describes as 'an intelligent, very stupid book'. He is currently working on his second. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
85 of 89 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful romp of a novel 1 Sep 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Allan is a hundred years old today, but he doesn't want to stay around for his party in the home in which he is resident, so he climbs out of the window and escapes.

This is the start of Allan's journey (into perhaps a fourth age?), and he becomes involved with a variety of characters - some criminal, and some merely suspect - and is also involved in a several deaths along the way. All Allan really wants is somewhere to live, a bit of company and a plentiful supply of vodka, but he get a great deal more than he has bargained for as his adventures begin. The present-day narrative is interspersed with Allan's back story from his youth until the present, and he has led a very eventful life. His expertise in the field of explosives has led him round the world (sometimes accidentally), and he has come into contact with, among others, President Truman, Mao Tse Tung, and Stalin; all, again, accidentally. He has a charming, almost innocent approach to life, and is a most endearing character. While he has no interest whatsoever in politics, he somehow can't avoid becoming involved, and changes sides as fate dictates, with scant regard to his own safety.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable romp of a novel. What is particularly satisfying is that the humour (and at times, this novel is very funny indeed) translates beautfully from the Swedish, so full marks to the translator, who has done a wonderful job. My only (tiny) reservation would be that some of the descriptive passages are a little over-long, but I have no hesitation in recommending the book. I don't think anyone can fail to enjoy it.
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370 of 394 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This old man has all his marbles... 27 Aug 2012
By Bizgen
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was completely blown away by this book. It brought to mind the early Tom Sharpe novels; irresistibly my mind kept floating away to a landscape peopled by eccentric old men, inefficient criminals, Peter Sellers in Pink Panther, all the caricatures of television farce.

I won't detail the plot, you can see that from the other reviews, and by reading the blurb, that it concerns an eccentric pensioner with attitude, with a life story to match, who holds one's attention all through the book. He needs his vodka and can't stand the thought of his Centenary party at the old people's home in which he has ended up where the Matron has been attempting to institutionalise him and take all the joy of choice from his life so, on a sudden whim, he hops out of the window and legs it to the bus station. The other sudden whim, nearly his undoing, was to then hop on the bus with someone else's suitcase, entrusted to him by the owner, who had popped into the loo. So the tale begins.

It is peopled by real political leaders acting in fairly unbelievable ways (at least, I hope they are !) and yet there is a warning message running through this book on several levels, the least of them being a warning not to take anyone too seriously. Especially leaders of countries, matrons of retirement homes, in fact, anyone in authority, whether voted in or not.

Some people won't like the way it goes from past to present, but when someone is one hundred years old, I am not sure there would be enough `present' to build the story on. And it is the past which is so interesting, from a world political point of view, to someone like me who hates anything historical and especially about war.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A modern Candide 27 Nov 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love this book! I bought it on the strength of the title and have read and re-rewad it since. In the manner of early Tom Sharpe the story of Allan Karlson's "escape" from his own birthday party unfolds in a hilarious sequence of events, each of which is unlikely but just plausible enough to draw the reader along and accept the absurd situations our ancient hero finds himself in. Intercut with these adventures is an account of his long life as he wanders amiably through the 20th century like a modern day Candide, meeting the famous and casually changing history, A delight!
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169 of 186 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 out of 5 28 Aug 2012
Whatever you're doing, stop it and read this book.

Without giving too much away, Allan decides to do a bunk from his nursing home on his hundredth birthday, accidentally stealing a gangster's suitcase containing fifty million crowns. He is thereafter sought out as a missing person, fugitive and target by the police and moneyless gang.

What unfolds is nothing short of the most fun, ridiculous and bizarre romp Sweden has ever seen.

Running parallel to the present day (2005) account is a retrospective on our hero's life, from 1905 to present. His adventures take him all over the world, hopping from the frying pan of one major world event and into the fire of the next. A plethora of world leaders feature, along with some other significant historical figures, which Allan happens upon in the most random way.

Because all of Allan's adventures are entirely accidental, and because he rarely recognises the significance of what he is doing, it's just mental enough to be more or less, almost credible. The absolute unlikeliness of one scatter brained, apolitical chap ambling across the globe, causing everything of relevance over the last one hundred years simply adds to the book's unique charm. Allan meets Stalin was a particular favourite episode of mine.

The modern-day (fictitious) characters are also a colourful bunch and compliment Allan in various, fitting ways. We are treated to a short backstory for each of them too, and their pasts contribute to their current function. Writers immediately command more respect when they acknowledge their characters had lives before the plot, and are not just the sum of events since page 1. Although there is rather a clump of histories presented to us early on, they're well worth reading.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Forest Gump meets Candide
Seven million people can't be wrong, so I bought this book. It is on the lines of Forest Gump, or even the Flashman stories (though without the sharp historical detail). Read more
Published 6 minutes ago by Cam Pub Man
5.0 out of 5 stars Thais is a beautifully written, innocent book that leaves you with a...
Keeps a smile on your face from beginning to end, definitely THE most enjoyable read I have had for many years. Read more
Published 2 hours ago by Louis Thacker
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite a few good laughs and all a bit tongue in cheek
This is basically a Forrest Gump rip off. That said it is an entertaining read and worth buying. Quite a few good laughs and all a bit tongue in cheek. Read more
Published 3 hours ago by C. E. Oneill
5.0 out of 5 stars humerous and an extremely good read. I couldn't put it down
Very entertaining, humerous and an extremely good read. I couldn't put it down.
Published 3 hours ago by Sheilagh Corbally
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Laugh
If you have ever read Tom Sharp then you will love this, I want to be this man If ever I reach a hundred years old, No I want to be this man now. Read more
Published 8 hours ago by Mr R Morse
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
How did this book get so many 5 star reviews?? I bought it because it seemed so popular but was disappointed. It is a stilted writing style and not easy to read at all. Read more
Published 9 hours ago by JaneH
5.0 out of 5 stars fabulous romp of a book
A wonderful romp through an adventurous life. Filled with humour and fun.
The most enjoyable book I have read in many years!
Published 10 hours ago by Anon
1.0 out of 5 stars Not much happens.
Feels disjointed as it keeps flashing backwards and forwards. Just as you start to feel interested in that time of his life, it moves again. Read more
Published 12 hours ago by Snow White
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fantastic book, really enjoyable!
Published 13 hours ago by Philippa Jefferis
5.0 out of 5 stars strangely interesting
A good read. Was very surprised with how the book turned out. I really enjoyed it. It is very well written.
Published 14 hours ago by Jan Marsden
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