168 of 185 people found the following review helpful
6 out of 5,
This review is from: The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared (Paperback)
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.
Jonasson's writing style is simply fantastic. Plot and characters aside, the book is entertaining purely for the writer's narration. His writing style is warm and funny, and makes it so easy and enjoyable to just glide through the book.
While it seems impossible to conclude the drama in a sensible yet satisfactory way, Jonasson so easily pulls one thread to make the tapestry of events clear. The dénouement is perfect in every way - one you want, one that's not cheating, very clever and incredibly hilarious.
Funny but intelligent, witty but well-researched. Overall, a nigh on faultless chronicle of one man's adventure, pre- and post- his 100th birthday. The biggest downside is simply how much you miss the charming chappy after the curtain comes down on the ride of your, and his, life.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 21 Jul 2013 11:10:42 BDT
If i had the wit, i would have written something much like your revue. As you, I also missed the old but not so much codger when the book was complete. What next? And, thank you for your appraisal as it convinced me to read this fantastic tale.
Posted on 26 Jul 2013 01:26:11 BDT
Miran Ali says:
The first line of your review is so true!! My wife bought this book a year ago, read it and asked me to as well. Naturally, thinking it's something sensitive, I avoided reading it until like last week. Fantastic book. Whatever you're reading, drop it. Oh and the audio version, in my opinion, is actually even better.
In reply to an earlier post on 26 Jul 2013 15:48:02 BDT
S. Taylor says:
It was announced today that Jonas Jonasson has a new book coming out! Huzzah!! It's untitled at the mo but will be published on September 25th in Sweden and then in UK/US shortly after. Whooopee!
Posted on 9 Sep 2013 16:29:31 BDT
Do not stop whatever you are doing, unless you are killing yourself. This book is so silly it dosen't deserve to waste your time. Probably the worst book I have ever had the misfortune to download and it was free when I did so.
Posted on 20 Mar 2014 17:27:08 GMT
Sue Scott says:
This review was almost as good as the book. I was going to write a review but when I saw this, I thought "Couldn't have put it better myself!" So I will reiterate the first line "Whatever you are doing, stop it and read this book" There, I've said it again!!
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