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

(2014-05-17 001)Title: The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

Author: Jonas Jonasson ; translated from the Swedish by Rod Bradbury

Publication Information: New York: Hyperion, c2012

ISBN: 978-1-4013-2464-3

Library of Congress Classification: PT9877.2.O537

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Older people–Fiction

I wasn’t sure that I would even like this book. I got it free from BEA a few years ago, and it’s been sitting on a shelf in my library. Rather than just give it away, I decided to try and read it. I was pleasantly surprised.

The main character, Allan Karlsson, is the 100-year-old man. He’s stuck in a nursing home, and the home is preparing to celebrate his 100th birthday. Everyone is in a festive mood except Allan, who slips out his window and escapes, taking a bus and getting off several miles away in a very small town.

And thus begins one of the funniest journeys any protagonist takes in fiction. We also learn about Allan as the chapters alternate between the past and the present. Allan becomes a demolitions expert in much demand. He meets many famous people on his life journey to the present, and has very many adventures.

(There’s at least one historical inaccuracy. Allan is talking to Truman about the atomic bomb before FDR died. Truman knew nothing about the Manhattan Project until after FDR had died. They just didn’t keep vice-presidents in the loop like they do now.)

Allan’s happy-go-lucky present life involves a series of misinterpretations of events that brings him and his friends–which includes an elephant–to a happy place at the end of the book.

I laughed out loud at some of Allan’s antics. I’d recommend this one.


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