The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, by Jonas Jonasson (2012)

Genre: Historical-to-Contemporary Fiction
Interest Level: Adult
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and DisappearedA blurb on this book says it’s the next great fiction from Sweden after Dragon Tattoo. That little marketing ploy will disappoint those looking for a little more Lisbeth. I’d describe this more as Forrest Gump, but for the entire 20th Century. On the day of his 100th birthday, Allan Karlsson escapes from his retirement home, just as the mayor and others are gathering for the big celebration. In no time at all, he steals a suitcase containing a fortune, befriends a petty criminal, disposes of a body and escapes both the police and the hated retirement home director. A parallel storyline reveals Allan’s story – his entire story – from his birth in 1905 to present day. Along the way, Allan blithely blows up his house (not just once), serves for both sides of the Spanish civil war, helps the Americans develop the atomic bomb and then accidentally reveals bomb instructions to the Russians, meets Chairman Mao, Stalin and De Gaulle, befriends Churchill and Truman, blows up spies and becomes a spy – I’ll stop before I reveal too much. It’s delightful reading, especially if you know the slightest bit of world history and more fun still if you are well versed in these affairs. The writing (translated by Rod Bradbury) is comical and gentle, and you’ll find yourself smiling at Allan’s confidence that things will work out, his enjoyment of vodka and his friendship with an elephant. I’ll say no more. An absolute gem, though nothing in the least resembling Lisbeth!
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About Michelle Mallette
I'm just trying to keep track of the books I've read - what I liked and what isn't worth re-reading. My work as a librarian has included youth services so you'll find a wide range of interests from picture books and teen dystopia to adult sci-fi, road trip novels, and nonfiction. Comments and communication is always welcome.

One Response to The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, by Jonas Jonasson (2012)

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