The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson is a brilliant, interesting novel set in Sweden which tells the story of Allan Karlsson’s 100-year-long (and still going!) life.
There are two main narratives throughout the novel; one focuses on the present day Allan, who climbs out of the window at the old people’s home he lives in and goes on a trip across Sweden, and the other focuses on Allan’s past and travels around the world to the many countries he’s visited and people he’s met. Witty and entertaining, this is jam-packed story that shows the part he had to play throughout history and the famous people he’s encountered – from Stalin to President Truman, and many more!
It was interesting to read about Allan’s life and imagine what I would be like when I’m a lot older – Allan is a very spritely 100-year-old so I don’t know if I’d be climbing out of a window with ease when I’m that age though!
The writing flows well and the story moves at a fast pace so I never felt bored reading it; however there were a few points where I felt like Jonas Jonasson could have cut out some of the lengthy description. I am aware that this is a translation though (and it seems like a fantastic one at that!) so the description may have come across differently in the Swedish version.
This is admittedly a very far-fetched book, so be prepared to suspend your disbelief – but then that’s part of its charm! Those who like their novels more realistic might not enjoy this as much but, regardless of how realistic the novel is, I certainly hope I have the determination and spirit of Allan if I get to a hundred years old!
At just under 400 pages this is a nice length and there’s certainly lots going on. I particularly enjoyed the historical narrative as it provided a lot of amusement! Give this novel a go- it’s something a little different.