“The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared”
advice serif;”> Not even the rain can keep Lisa Gorry down after finding Jonas Jonasson’s 2009 debut
It’s not unreasonable to say that for most people, Swedish writing is earmarked by the dark and gothic Larsson saga, The Girl With the… trilogy, the series that captured many readers’ interests both before and after its transition onto the big screen. The success of such Scandi-crime has been thoroughly enjoyed by many writers looking to bounce off the success of Lisbeth’s adventures, and so it’s refreshing to find a book now that steers very much clear of such a genre.
If I’m honest, I hadn’t really looked at the author when purchasing the book; it didn’t matter to me who had written it, as it was more on an impulse buy, bought out of guiltiness for ducking into Hodges and Figgis to escape a rainstorm. However, I’m beginning to think that it was fate that brought The Hundred-Year-Old Man and I together -it seems that for once the rain in Ireland has done me a bit of good!
Allan Karlsson is our eponymous hero, a man who is far from done with life and not one to give up so easily on living, and so, on the afternoon of his one hundredth birthday, he creaks out his bedroom window and starts off on the adventure to top all adventures.
Jonasson has a very quirky and light way of writing: fast paced and relentlessly sunny, we are lucky enough to accompany Allan on his latest adventure, learning about how he lived his hundred years on the way. While being set in recent years, the novel guides us through some of the major events of the 20th century; with Allan involving himself inadvertently in everything from the Russian Revolution to Reagan’s Star Wars, it soon becomes apparent that the centenarian has a knack for being in the wrong place at the right time.
Concurrent to this, we watch as the story of Allan’s present day escape develops into a genial crimefest. While the plot itself is utterly ridiculous, Karlsson’s down-to-earth nature and the book’s innate charm keeps the reader asking for more, and just when you think you’ve caught up on the story, Jonasson twists the plot and you’ve got something else to catch up on.
Confident, quirky and charismatic, The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared will have you laughing out loud and contemplating your own way of living life. Highly recommended if you’re aiming to beat those autumn blues.