Review: The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared – by Jonas Jonasson

The Hundred Year Old ManSynopsis: 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.

Title: The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared
Author: Jonas Jonasson
Publisher: Hesperus Press
Pages: 400
ISBN: 978-1843913726


This book has been on my shelf forever. OK so slight overstatement, I’ve only had shelves in my new place for a month but metaphorically – forever. I was finally forced to read it so that my friend could borrow it after – and I’m so glad I did.

“Never try to out drink a Swede, unless you happen to be a Finn or at least a Russian.”

The plot and characters were brilliant, which everyone seems to know already (I realise how late I was in reading this!). Putting these aside, it is Johansson’s writing style that I enjoyed the most – it’s so light and warm I found myself gliding through the book whilst wishing it could last longer.

Also – it’s great if you want a quick history lesson; our protagonist has seen (and quite often been heavily involved in) it all. This guy really has seen it all: wars, bombs, camps, explosives, presidents. He is completely right in saying:

“Things are what they are, and whatever will be, will be.”

This isn’t a laugh a minute type book; it’s something that will make you smile whilst turning the pages and chuckle at throughout. I’ve already bought his new novel to read and can assure you all that this one will definitely not be waiting forever to get off my shelf!

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