The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
By Jonas Jonasson
Translated from the original Swedish by Rod Bradbury
HarperCollins Publishers Ltd., 2012
I can’t remember the last time I had this much fun reading a book.
You want suspense? This book has it. You never know what’s going to happen: “Well, now you can see how sensible it is not to start your day by guessing what might happen . . .. After all, how long would I have had to go on guessing before I guessed this?”
You want humour? This book has it. The story is rich in irony and understatement: “Even if you’re well bundled up, it is bold to cross the Himalayas with only the help of a homemade map of the world and a compass.”
You want a fun romp through history? Boy, does this book have it. The lovable 100-year-old protagonist journeys through the major news events of the 20th Century. Along the way he solves some rather large problems, but creates some doozies, too: “It is better not to have two murder organizations on your heels.”
Allan Emmanuel Karlsson teaches us that if you want to give your life a new direction, sometimes you have to climb out the window. On the morning of his 100th birthday, he decides that a nursing home is no place for an explosives expert with a fondness for vodka and an aversion to politics. He escapes the clutches of Director Alice and climbs out his window. Wearing a suit and his bedroom slippers, he embarks on a grand adventure.
In a way that is entirely charming and soul-stirringly inspirational, Allan doesn’t try to direct his life, but let’s life happen to him. He marvels with childlike curiosity at each new twist and turn. “. . . it was what it was, and that thereafter whatever will be will be.”
And he never meets a hurdle he cannot overcome: “He considered the matter so intently that the stone wall in front of his eyes seemed to shrink. And when it was at its very lowest, Allan crept over it, age and knees be damned.”
This book is entertaining, literary and suspenseful. Great fun.
Posted on November 21, 2012, in Book Club, Book reviews, Books for the beach, Books I bought, Books I liked so much I bought them after I borrowed them, Books to read again and again, Fiction and tagged 100-year-old man, book review, HarperCollins, Jonas Jonasson. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.