Saturday, November 2, 2013

A Review: The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

This book was not originally on my list and I haven't heard of it either. It came as a recommendation from my former manager as she said it is "light hearded, whimsical and funny". The only other information available to me was the back cover of the book that read "A reluctant centenarian with a life much like Forrest Gump's (if Gump were an explosives expert with a fondness for vodka) decides it not too late to start over...".

The author Jonas Jonasson is a Swede with a twisted and creative sense of humour. The plot he doctors up is twisted and ridiculous all while inserting itself in actual world history very nicely. This isn't a novel that has an overarching theme throughout the book, imbedded in the characters and plot; it's simply a book that requires some knowledge of historical events, an imagination and a sense of humour. Our story is centered around the main character Allan Karlsson--a centenarian who's as alert as you or I but bored of his life in the old folk's home. So, he decides to leave. He doesn't have a plan or a specific desire to go anywhere. But, when in his life has he ever?

As the reader follows Allan's journey of a series of unfortunate events, for others; we are also taken back to the days when he dined with Mao and Truman. For someone who is well versed in basic modern world history, this is either a sheer delight with the unusual story that unfolds, or is a blasphemous piece of prose that doesn't take history seriously. I think it's fun to see how Jonasson takes some liberties with what might have actually transpired between these historical figures and Allan Karlsson while maintaining the actual historical outcome.

The story itself doesn't have any specific purpose other than to entertain. I'd say if you're looking for something of a light and fun read with no real objective or outcome, this is one of those books. It's amusing and will, at times, make you laugh out loud or stare in disbelief at the absurdity of the events unfolding before you.


  1. hmmm sounds like a fun read, but wouldn't be at the top of my list

    1. yea, i agree. i had a really tough time getting into it at the start but it came together better eventually. i did continually wonder where it was going and what was happening because frankly, i couldn't really understand the objective of the plot and its characters. regardless, a nice read to break from something more serious.