Customer Review

87 of 98 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable for a while then faded, 2 Sep 2012
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This review is from: The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared (Kindle Edition)
There is a lot of hype about this book and the reviews on here are totally enthusiastic which kind of convinced me to give it a go. I certainly enjoyed parts of the book - more particularly the earlier sections. There are some amusing and clever twists to the tale - but they become increasingly far-fetched and somewhat repetitive. It reminded me somewhat of William Boyd's (much better in my opinion) 'Any Human Heart' which explored the life of one man viewed against the backdrop of the 20th century but in a much more satisfying and believable way. In Boyd's book I experienced genuine emotion and could identify with the ups and downs of his main character, Logan Mountstuart. By the end of this book, I'd lost any real interest in what was going to happen to the characters, because basically nothing bad ever does. They lead charmed lives - getting away, literally, with murder. So the story works at the level of farcical escapism, but because it's so long it becomes a bit tedious in the end. I guess the one question it leaves you pondering is "Is there a window that I need to climb out of?" - but because the adventures of Allan and his crew are so improbable, the narrative doesn't really help you to answer that question. If it's farce you're after, I'd recommend Michael Frayn's 'Skios' which, to my mind, works much better than this.
So overall, not bad for long journeys, but ultimately empty and unsatisfying.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 14 Sep 2012 21:20:12 BDT
By coincidence I took Skios away with me on a weekend trip, and bought The Hundred Year Old Man as I had nothing to read in the train. I found it funnier than Skios (which I also liked), and although the ending was a little bit of an anti-climax, the whole idea as well as Allan's motto, equating to 'che sera, sera', rivetting and inventive. I have been recommending it on Facebook, a unique occurrence for me. Roll on the author's next book...

Posted on 20 Sep 2012 12:01:18 BDT
I like your heading, a verdict that applies to so many exciting sounding stories, almost as if the really good idea has fizzled out and it's a bore to tidy up the debris.

Posted on 8 May 2014 13:49:12 BDT
D. G. Ames says:
Absolutely agree with this review. I also put my dissatisfaction down to the book being a somewhat laboured translation. Also agree that Any Human Heart is a great read !
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Self-help junkie
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

Location: Birmingham, England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 949