Book Title: The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared
Author: Jonas Jonasson
Genre: Literary Fiction
Summary: On the day of his one hundredth birthday, Allan Karlsson decides to climb out of the window of his retirement home and disappear. The misadventures that follow, mostly spiraling from the theft of a suitcase full of money and the need to track down the retired escapee, are told in juxtaposition with the intriguing life Allan has led thus far. From dining with Harry S. Truman and walking across the Himalayas on foot, Allan’s one hundred years of life have been all kinds of eventful – and there’s a lot more in store for him!
Favourite Scene: There were quite a few laugh-out-loud moments when I read this book, if only for the ridiculousness of it all. I couldn’t name just one though the first that had me wide eyed and choking on my glass of wine involved an excessive amount of vodka (in the book, not in me) and a hostage in a meat locker (also in the book, in case this needs clarifying).
Favourite Character: The elephant – Sonya. Yes, there’s an elephant.
Review: It was hard not to enjoy this book as I read it poolside at a resort on Sentosa. Lucky me! It was easy reading – I didn’t have to think too much and I was highly entertained. What is unique about this book is that it is thoroughly ridiculous, yet it works. I struggled to love any of the characters, and yet I found myself wanting them to be OK by the story’s end. What made me laugh the most was the simplicity of the story – and its complexity when it came to moving Allan around from place to place, from historical figure to historical figure. It would be tempting to call him Sweden’s Forrest Gump, but there is an element of manipulation and deceit that Allan possesses which makes him far less innocent than dear Forrest.
To borrow the words of my poolside reading friend, it is a funny and entertaining story, though it isn’t especially well written. Some of the phrasing added to the hilarity, while other times I was tempted to skip passages, which I did, and I was not confused plot-wise as a result. I can see why it is an International bestseller – it’s entertaining, a tad morbid, hilarious at parts, and easy to read. Great to take on holiday for a good laugh. 4 commas!