Review: The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared

This funny little book, by Jonas Jonasson, with an outrageously long title came to my bookshelf a couple of weeks ago because I got an email from my grandma’s brother. He was asking if I had read a novel called The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared. I knew what he was talking about. I had seen it on my quests to the local book shop on several occasions, but I hadn’t really stopped to see what all the fuzz was about. The film trailer looked funny enough, but I still didn’t think reading it was in my near future. But then my uncle asked about it and I decided to give it a go.

The story starts on Monday the 2nd of May 2005. It’s Allan Karlsson’s 100th birthday, and he has had enough of the Old People’s Home where he lives. In less than an hour, the home’s director will knock on his door and lead him to his birthday party. The press, the Mayor and all the other residents will be there, but Allan does not intend to go. So he makes an extra effort to jump out of his window and into the wild, and thus begins one last great adventure for the hundred-year-old man. One that involves criminals, murders, an elephant and a suitcase full of money.

Before you acquire this book, you may want to consider something: This is not a serious read.

If you’re a serious reader and you’re looking for serious literature, look for something else. The story tells not only about Allan’s last adventure; it also narrates his whole life, which was rather explosive. (Literally; the guy made bombs for a living). Allan lived through and was part of some of the most important events of the 20th century, meeting a lot of important political leaders, changing sides constantly -despite not having an opinion in politics whatsoever-, and always longing for a glass of vodka.

Yes, this book is borderline ridiculous. Nothing of what happens makes any sense and Allan’s role is completely implausible. In short: It’s absolutely hilarious. My biggest problem was reading on my way to university, because I would start laughing and everyone in the bus would stare. It was a nice break after reading Ulysses, and I happily recommend it to anyone who wants to have a good laugh.

My edition: Paperback, published in2013 by Hesperus Nova.
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