The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared (Jonas Jonasson)


A clerk in The English Bookshop in Stockholm’s Gamla Stan recommended this book to me, and I’m sure glad she did. It was a fun, quick read. The basic premise of the story is that a centenarian climbs out of his window at the old folks’ home on his hundredth birthday and goes on a series of (mis)adventures. Interspersed with his journey are chapters that take you through the story of his life, chronologically — and what an incredible life it turns out to be!

The characters in Jonasson’s novel are likable and interesting, and as the tale progresses they become something akin to complex characters. The protagonist, Allan Karlsson, maintains an intense disinterest in politics and a passion for blowing things up throughout his entire life, and both characteristics turn out to be rather at odds with the life he ends up living.

There are so many things I want to say about this book, but the most important thing I’d say is that you should just run out and get a copy, because it’s a really fun read. The language is somewhat different than I’d expect — sounds a bit dry, even though it doesn’t read as dry — but it’s really fun once you get caught up in Allan’s tale.

GOOD FOR:  Just about anybody!

BAD FOR:  People looking for a thoroughly un-fun read.

GOOD WITH:  Good Omens, Hector and the Search for Happiness, and The Night Circus.

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