100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (Jonasson) - Book Reviews
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Imaginative, laugh-out-loud....a brilliant satire on the foibles of mankind.
A mordantly funny and loopily freewheeling debut novel about ageing disgracefully.
Sunday Times (UK)
Scandi-crime’s signature darkness is here dispelled by Allan Karlsson, the eponymous centenarian, who with unlikelyprightliness hops out of the window of his old people’s home one afternoon.... Fast-moving and relentlessly sunny.... Like Allan, the plot is pleasingly nimble and the book’s endearing charm offers a happy alternative to the more familiar Nordic noir.
Jonasson’s laugh-out-loud debut (a bestseller in Europe) reaches the U.S. three years after its Swedish publication, in Bradbury’s pitch-perfect translation. The intricately plotted saga of Allan Karlsson begins when he escapes his retirement home on his 100th birthday by climbing out his bedroom window. After stealing a young punk’s money-filled suitcase, he embarks on a wild adventure, and through a combination of wits, luck, and circumstance, ends up on the lam from both a smalltime criminal syndicate and the police. Jonasson moves deftly through Karlsson’s life—from present to past and back again—recounting the fugitive centenarian’s career as a demolitions expert and the myriad critical junctures of history, including the Spanish Civil War and the Manhattan Project, wherein Karlsson found himself an unwitting (and often influential) participant. Historical figures like Mao’s third wife, Vice President Truman, and Stalin appear, to great comic effect. Other characters—most notably Albert Einstein’s hapless half-brother—are cleverly spun into the raucous yarn, and all help drive this gentle lampoon of procedurals and thrillers.Publishers Weekly
[D]eadpan humor.... Allan Karlsson, the centenarian who sneaks out of his nursing home, is an expert on explosives who has led an outsize life...[and] inadvertently played a significant role in many world events.... Chapters alternate between Allan's big adventures in the past and in the present, where he gets mixed up with a zany bunch of Swedes and a former circus elephant as they try to avoid both cops and gangsters. Verdict
: his quirky novel is a sly, satirical look back at international relations...through the eyes of an old man who has seen it all. —Leslie Patterson, Rehoboth, MA Library Journal
Desperate to avoid his 100th birthday party, Allan Karlsson climbs out the window of his room at the nursing home and heads to the nearest bus station...[where a] decision to steal a suitcase from a fellow passenger sends [him] on a strange and unforeseen journey... [It's] just another chapter in a life full of adventures for Allan, who has become entangled in the major events of the twentieth century.... [R]eaders will be treated to a new and charmingly funny version of world history and get to know a very youthful old man whose global influence knows no age limit.... —Carol Gladstein Booklist
A Swedish debut novel that will keep readers chuckling. Allan Karlsson has just turned 100, and the Old Folks' Home is about to give him a birthday party that he absolutely doesn't want. So he leaves out his window and high-tails it to a bus station, with no particular destination in mind.... Coincidence and absurdity are at the core of this silly and wonderful novel. Looking back, it seems there are no hilarious, roll-on-the-floor-laughing scenes. They will just keep readers amused almost nonstop, and that's a feat few writers achieve. A great cure for the blues, especially for anyone who might feel bad about growing older. Kirkus Reviews