The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson, translated by Rod Bradbury (Hesperus Press)
The Hundred-Year-Old Man is the story of Allan Karlsson who escapes from the drab nursing home on the day of his 100th birthday. Out the window he goes, still in his slippers and there the adventure begins. He travels all over the world, meets the most powerful figures of the twentieth-century and even plays a central part in the major historical events of the twentieth-century. The story is ludicrous. But from the first few pages I was drawn into this whirlwind tale of exhilarating scandal and crime.
Jonasson has created a very likeable character who I forgave very quickly for the appalling crimes he committed. Allan Karlsson is carefree and has a childlike quality about him, which perhaps explains why I find him blameless. This extraordinary centenarian makes us laugh, and yet Allan does not think of himself as a funny man, so we are perhaps laughing more at him than with him.
This Scandinavian dark comedy novel is an International bestseller and has already been made into a film to be released this year before it hits UK screens in 2014. If you haven’t read it already, then you should get ready to meet Allan and all his associates on their big adventure: it includes an elephant, guns, vodka and more vodka – and that is just the tip of the iceberg!
Who better to span the last century than a 100-year-old man called Allan Karlsson?
by Heather Wells