Book Reviews

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

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List Price: £8.99

 

Paperback: 400 Pages.

Published: 12 July 2012 by Hesperus Press

ISBN: 1843913720

EAN: 9781843913726

It all starts on the one-hundredth birthday of Allan Karlsson. Sitting quietly in his room in an old people's home, he is waiting for the party he-never-wanted-anyway to begin. The mayor is going to be there. The press is going to be there. But, as it turns out, Allan is not...Slowly but surely Allan climbs out of his bedroom window, into the flowerbed (in his slippers) and makes his getaway. And so begins his picaresque and unlikely journey involving criminals, several murders, a suitcase full of cash, and incompetent police. As his escapades unfold, we learn something of Allan's earlier life in which - remarkably - he helped to make the atom bomb, became friends with American presidents, Russian tyrants, and Chinese leaders, and was a participant behind the scenes in many key events of the twentieth century. Already a huge bestseller across Europe, The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared is a fun, feel-good book for all ages. Translated by Rod Bradbury.

Reviews

4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars  by Anne

Quirky and unusual

I am a bit late coming to this book as it seemed to have been recommended to me by everyone I know but I am glad that I made the effort. It was not quite what I expected - although I am not sure what I actually did expect.

The story is about an old man who climbs out of the window of his care home and escapes via train. He becomes involved with criminals and other people whilst the book also looks back at his very eventful life where he seems to have been at the heart of some major world events and to have known some influential people. The message of the book is that no one is too old to really live and that the older people we see may have had more exciting lives than we can imagine. When you are reading the book you really don't have any idea what is going to happen next and the author moves the story quickly from one situation to another many of which are very funny. The book is written in a light-hearted, matter of fact manner which is a real contrast to the content and helps to make it quirky and unusual.

I did have just a slight concern that the style of the book meant that death and injury to characters was rather ignored or at least little time was given to the impact of it. The same rather applied to the many criminal acts which take place. You need not to let this bother you and read the book as a sort of modern fairytale and then you need to heed the message and regard older people in a different way in future.

4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars  by Debra Found

Totally Unlikely but Great Fun!

This is the story of Allan Karlsson who decides that he doesn't want to attend his 100th birthday party & climbs out of the window to escape. It is at this point you had better suspend belief & just go with the flow!

We follow Allan as he gets on a bus to the middle of nowhere, meets the most unlikely people (including an elephant) and gets involved with the most unlikely set of events. Running alongside the story of his "escape" are the details of his life up until the day he climbed out of the window. I won't detail any of the events in the book but suffice to say that Allan has in the past , and continues to, live life to the full!

In some ways Allan seems to be not that likeable but it is impossible to dislike him!  He doesn't seem to worry at people's deaths and seems to have little in the way of loyalties. However, this is because he seems to be amoral as opposed to immoral.  Allan is, in some ways, a bit of a simpleton & indeed spent many years in an asylum. Somehow or other, however, things just seem to work out for him.

This book is best read in the way that you would read a children's fairy story. You know it is unreal & impossible but that doesn't stop it being great fun to read.

I suspect that this will be a marmite book - you will either love it or hate it. I am considering putting it forward for my bookgroup next year - it is going to provoke an immense amount of discussion!

 
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