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on 4 August 2015
I have only reached the halfway point in this book and I think it's one of the funniest I've read for some time. The style reminds me of Jaroslav Hasek's "The Good Soldier Sweik" except that our heroine, Nambeko is a bit brighter than Sweik and more resourceful. I haven't read Jonas Jonason's previous book, "The Hundred Year Old Man"?, but, judging by the comparisons in the reviews of this book, it sounds as if it would be just as enjoyable. Meanwhile, I hope the rest of this one is as enjoyable as the first half.
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on 4 September 2015
If you read and enjoyed the 100 Year Old Man who Climbed Out of a Window and Disappeared you'll probably enjoy this as it's really more of the same. I actually preferred this to the 100 Year Old Man... as it is more genuinely funny and has a much lower body count. I quite enjoyed the 100 Year Old Man but I'd describe that as more of a black comedy. The body count was a bit high and a bit too gruesome for my taste. The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden however is a genuine comedy. It was the first book I've read for a long time where I found myself laughing out loud as I read it. If you really want a hint of the plot, this is the story of how a girl born in Soweto moves from working for the public sanitation department in Soweto to finding herself on the run in Sweden from a retired Mossad agent along with the King of Sweden, the Prime Minister of Sweden, an anarchist, a republican, a phony countess and an atomic bomb and is rescued from her predicament by the most powerful man in China and somehow it all ends happily.
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on 5 May 2017
Throughout the book my view changed as to whether I was enjoying it or not. I tend to like fact or fiction based on fact. At times this book was very much a work of fiction but the strands of fact woven through it kept my interest. By the end I was just going with the flow and really enjoyed the experience. Humorous at times, sad at others but always interesting. A strange mix of unreal but very real characters who delivered a rollercoaster of a story.
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on 16 July 2014
Jonas Jonasson’s first novel, in my opinion, was a true delight to read. It was original and funny and I spent my tube journey’s actually laughing out loud. I raved about it to friends and recommended it left, right and centre. So when I packed for holiday last month, his latest book, ‘The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden’, was the first thing that went into my suitcase.

In this book, our protagonist is Nombeko Mayeki. Born in Soweto, Couth Africa, the course of Nombeko’s life takes a long and varied trajectory. After a succession of accidents, happy coincidences and bizarre twists, she ends up in living in a pillow warehouse in Sweden with a man that technically doesn’t exist and a whole cast of other captivating characters. She’s also fluent in Chinese and has an all too intimate knowledge of nuclear weaponry. Soon enough, she’s on course to save the life of the King of Sweden.

To say more about the plot would be to take away from the charm of the book, but once again readers are asked to completely suspend their disbelief and just go along for the ride.

Maybe it was because I’d hyped it up so much, but when I turned the last page I was left feeling a little disappointed. Essentially, if you’ve read ‘The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared’, ‘The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden’ will come as nothing new to you. It uses much the same format, the same language and the same style of writing.

While it was still entertaining, it lost the feeling of originality and excitement that came with Jonasson’s first novel. To me, it felt a little bit like the author knew he had a formula for success and so stuck to it religiously, keeping loyal fans happy but not offering them anything new.
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on 1 March 2015
The Girl who saved the King of Sweden
by Jonas Jonasson
Like the author's first book, 'The One Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared' this is a romp through recent history told through the adventures of an unlikely set of characters who find themselves in unbelievable situations and triumph in the best possible style of innocents and naïvetés everywhere.
The plot is outrageous, witty and thought provoking and the underlying, subtle subtexts and symbolism are fantastically clever.I read the whole book as a allegory of the precarious nature of the Cold War/Arms race era
Sometimes square pegs actually end up in square holes, not always by design or by the most direct route, rather like the Swedish Prime Minister, and perhaps even the King of Sweden, not to mention Nombeko.
The Countess is everyone who wistfully longs to be important, admired and involved, but plays the hand dealt them by fate to the best of their ability. Celestine is  the archetypal, frustrated 'demonstrator' , well intentioned but politically naive, in a world of hypocrisy and injustice that she does not have a hope of understanding.
Holger One, the twin who does exist means well, by his own lights, but his gung-ho short-sightedness leads the group, and in particular his hapless brother, into scrape after scrape. Like Mr Magoo, he has a charmed life but only because his much cleverer twin and his friends save him time after time. He never fully realises how much damage he has caused, how much he has to be grateful to the others for and how very stupid he actually is! But 'he means well' and like his counterparts in real-life he bumbles along and blithely continues to cause mayhem. Holgar Two, the 'nobody' is so often the voice of reason and the one picking up the pieces.
The main theme of the book seems to be that fate will interfere no matter what individuals do, but non-the-less the actions and motives of each and every one of us can make a huge difference to the way things unfold and the amount of comfort or discomfort to be borne, by ourselves and all those we encounter, along the way.
If you enjoyed The Hundred-Year-Old Man... and/or like books that are a little off-beat but cleverly constructed and very entertaining then you will love The Girl who saved the King of Sweden; I did.
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on 1 March 2018
Interesting, funny, clever, poignant, sad, comedic - this book has it all. Nombeko is a truly wonderful character, she's intelligent, funny and has a strong moral compass which never waivers as she faces off against the full might of Apartheid, Mossad, the Chinese government, the Swedish Government... The plot is so organic and takes you in so many different directions that the climax really is a revelation. Not many books I've read manage to do that.

Highly recommended!
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on 21 May 2014
I began reading 'The Girl who saved the King of Sweden' with trepidation because I enjoyed Jonas Jonasson's debut 'The 100 year old man who climbed out the window and disappeared' so much and it's now one of my favourite books, but I am happy to say both books have their strengths but of the two, 'The 100 year old man who climb out the window and disappeared' is my favourite.

I found 'The Girl who saved the King of Sweden' very funny with eclectic characters who are all interesting and realistic, I especially like the story of the Holgers and the plight of their royal family hating father, Ingmar and their despairing mother, Henrietta who is very patient with her husband.

Nombeko is a wonderful character, she's intelligent, funny and is one step ahead of everyone which helps her as she grows up, working in the public toilets of Soweto to cleaning for a deceitful nuclear engineer who not only knocked Nomeko down with his car but due to the situation in South Africa at the time, manages to blame Nomeko for the accident.

Jonas Jonasson writes characters well and that's why his books are a joy to read, his satirical approach to politics are great to read.

The only downside I found was how long Nomeko put up with the engineer but as you read you realise why and understand.
I look forward to reading his next book.

Rating: 5/5
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on 15 February 2017
But quite entertaining. Really I'd like to give it 2.5 stars. I was past halfway before it occurred to me that perhaps it was intended to be funny. Up to that point I'd simply thought it was a very silly book. The idea that it was intended to be humorous kept me plodding through it. It never did get funny but it did eventually end, which seemed in doubt at one point. It seems to have been translated from Swedish, and something was lost in translation. Like all the humour. So, much too long and not funny but quite well written and mildly entertaining. But not worth more than 2.5 stars.
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on 18 August 2015
Brilliant book. Wonderful. Once I got into it, I could not put it down. A series of utterly impossible situations become even more impossible as the tale evolves. Politics, society, you and I (with our relationships and associated problems) are all reflected in the mirror of the story line. It is made into exactly what you know is probably true about society, relationships, national politics and all the gubbins of nationalism and leadership. That includes economics, defence, and the leadership of nations. Wonderfully humanely funny. This book made me laugh a bit at first - but by the end, laughter and tears of joy at the irreverence for just about everything, became utterly un-put-down-able. Oh! Yes! On the instructions of one of the characters in this lovely novel, if you don't actually enjoy it, I shall be tempted to come over there and twist your nose. Hard.
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on 21 July 2015
It took me a long time to get round to reading The Hundred Year Old Man: the whole concept sounded a little too strange, a little too surreal: I just couldn't see how it could possibly work. But when I read it I realised it did: somehow it did.

Having finally got round to reading The Hundred Year Old Man, I couldn't wait to get started on this book. I expected to be a little disappointed: after all, Jonasson's first was a lot to live up to, but I wasn't, not at all.

I actually think this is better than Hundred Year Old Man, surprised as I am to say that. The constant flicking between past and present in Hundred Year Old Man sometimes broke the flow up, whereas there is no such problem here. The story is equally unlikely, bizarre, humorous and yet strangely credible, and the little twist at the end left me smiling and wanting more.

Yes,there are a few places where this very closely echoes the first book: without giving any spoilers Nombeko finds herself having to solve a near identical problem to Allan near the end, and one passage could be almost copied word for word from the first book - but the circumstances (and outcome) are very different.

The one word I was left thinking at the end of this book was "superb", and I have recommended this to a number of people (and I very rarely make book recommendations to people). Whether or not you've read Hundred Year Old Man, I highly recommend this book. I'm looking forward to Jonasson's next book, which I very much hope will follow the style of his two to date.

I also very much recommend the audiobook - I switched between Kindle and Audible on Whispersync: both were enjoyable but the narration of the audiobook really is brilliant.
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