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The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared Paperback – 12 Jul 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Hesperus Press (12 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843913720
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843913726
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 2.3 x 19.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8,674 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 268 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'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' NU.nl, 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' --NU.nl, Netherlands

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

121 of 127 people found the following review helpful By Frances Stott TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 Sept. 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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380 of 406 people found the following review helpful By Bizgen on 27 Aug. 2012
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dr R TOP 500 REVIEWER on 13 Jun. 2013
Format: Paperback
Two of the most enjoyable aspects about reading novels are to come across very interesting works from smaller or specialist publishers, and to read books from debut authors that take the novel into new areas and which, undoubtedly, will lead to other writers trying to do something similar.

This first book by Jonas Jonasson, translated from the Swedish by Rod Bradbury, and published by Hesperus Press, a publisher that focuses on "unjustly neglected or simply unknown [works] in the English-speaking world" hits both targets.

There are two stories told in this book; firstly, the series of outrageous adventures that follow the escape of the centenarian, Allan Karlsson, from his Old People's Home, where alcohol is banned, in the town of Malmkoping shortly before the public celebration of his 100th birthday and, secondly, his equally interesting life story.

Born in 1905, the son of a railway worker and a mother who is a supporter of women's suffrage, Karlsson takes an early interest in chemical explosives, a subject which reappears through his life. This life takes in many of the momentous events of the century (including Los Alamos, the Korean and Cold Wars, the Paris Riots of 1956) and meetings with, amongst others, Franco, President Truman, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Mao, Kim Il-Sung and his emotional son, Kim Jong Il (which is sure to undermine media reports of future 21st century North Korean belligerency), Beria and Stalin, Churchill and de Gaulle.

The book was gestating in the author's mind for so long that he must have considered many, many more events and people, and the ones he has finally included make a varied and interesting collection.
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