The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared
by Jonas Jonasson
Summary: 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 and feel-good book for all ages.
Genre: Humor, Contemporary, Historical Fiction
Release Date: July 12, 2012 (U.S. Paperback)
Where to Buy: Amazon . Barnes and Noble
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Source: I borrowed the book from a family member.
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared seemed like a humorous and adventurous novel that would have me laughing as the characters went on their crazy adventure. Perhaps the mood didn’t strike me while I was reading it, though I did read it in hopes of having a laugh, but the novel just wasn’t enjoyable for me at all.
The book, in my opinion, was very much like Forrest Gump in terms of having a character who ended up being important to history on accident. However, it ended up delivering the story to me much like One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez in the way that it was the same idea over and over and over again and probably could have been 100 to 200 pages shorter. I was not a big fan of One Hundred Years of Solitude because I felt like the author was repeating himself throughout the book and was telling instead of showing. This book felt the exact same way to me. Both novels were translated into English and I’m thinking that is the reason for the issue I have with both novels in the way they are written.
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared was a fun book with tons of humorous moments, depth where you’d least expect it, and was steeped in history. The humor, though dry, was definitely present throughout the novel. I think it would make a great film that would make audiences of all ages laugh. As a book, though, I found it quite boring and hard to get into. I did enjoy the events and loved some of the elements in the story, such as religion and politics.
I don’t think I’d recommend the novel unless the Forrest Gump type of story is something you enjoy and would like the same idea with different events and characters. Also, if you typically don’t have issues like I seem to with translated novels, you may find the book much more enjoyable to read than I did. It seems I find the writing too dry and distant in a lot of the translated work I’ve read unless I’m feeling particularly intellectual, which definitely wouldn’t have worked with the plot of the novel.
If dry humor is something you love, you may love the novel. I did laugh in a few spots, but the things that I disliked about the story were overpowering and the comedy didn’t really come through to me enough.
This book completes the Translated Fiction category of the 2013 Eclectic Reader Challenge.
Labels: Adult, Adventure, eclectic reader, humor, Review