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The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared (original 2009; edition 2012)

by Jonas JONASSON

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,7822841,377 (3.67)222
Member:deargreenplace
Title:The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared
Authors:Jonas JONASSON
Info:Hesperus Press Ltd. (2012), Kindle Edition, 390 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Rating:***
Tags:fiction, borrowed, sweden, world events, 20th century history

Work details

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson (2009)

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» See also 222 mentions

English (203)  Spanish (20)  Dutch (17)  French (13)  German (12)  Catalan (5)  Norwegian (3)  Finnish (3)  Italian (3)  Danish (3)  Swedish (2)  All languages (284)
Showing 1-5 of 203 (next | show all)
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, Jonas Jonasson, author; Steven Crossley, narrator
When I started to read this, I enjoyed the humor and the premise of the story. Who wouldn’t love a man who wanted to escape the confines of an old age home where he is no longer treated like an adult, where he is unable to make decisions for what he wants to do with his own life, eat what he likes, when he likes, and sleep when he likes? He is fit and has all of his wits about him so he decides to run away. I thought to myself, kudos to him!
The novel begins on May 2, 2005. Allan Karlsson, born on May 2, 1905, is 100 years old today. A celebration, complete with local celebrities, including the Mayor, is being set up at the same moment he decides that he will not attend his own party. Instead, he slips out of the window, in what he calls his “pee slippers”, to escape his confinement and Alice, the Director, who appears to run the place with an iron hand, treating him like a disobedient child who won’t follow her rules. He is obviously in great shape for anyone of that age, and he makes his way to the bus station where he meets a rude young man who asks him to keep an eye on his suitcase. Because he views the young man distastefully, when Allan’s bus comes, without giving it much thought, he steals the suitcase, taking it with him onto the bus. Throughout his life, as the story progresses, the reader learns that Allan often gives little thought to his actions or to their consequences afterwards. He simply makes decisions, almost on a whim, and proceeds from there, letting the cards fall where they may, and then deals with the results.
What seems like a simple act of theft sets the story in motion. As Allan’s previous long life is explored and exposed, it goes off in all directions, involving many countries of the world and many major leaders, especially during their moments of crisis. His life had been very unconventional. Through a serendipitous set of events, he often found himself globetrotting to unusual places, meeting with heads of state, and although, pretty much unaware of the fact, he was influencing world events. Because of his seeming innocence and lack of concern for what happened to him and around him, he also wound up spending years in prison in many foreign countries, as well.
The people he meets are as quirky as he is, and if the book hadn’t gone on as long as it did, it would have been far better, in my opinion. It was very imaginative but it got a bit bogged down in the multitude of events presented. It required even more than a suspension of disbelief when the reader sees him sitting down with Truman, Stalin, Franco, Kim Jong-Il, a not too bright step-brother of Albert Einstein, and others, influencing events far beyond his capabilities. It seemed to spiral out of control, almost as if the author didn’t quite know how to end it so he just kept on writing hoping it would end of its own volition.
At the same time as the reader is treated to Allan’s various escapades, there is also a wide, and more or less incompetent, search for the centenarian who has somehow disappeared leaving a trail of dead bodies in his wake!
The story is told with wit and a heavy dose of sarcasm. All of the unusual incidents and remaining questions are eventually explained to the reader and to the investigators being led on a merry chase. However, the explanation is very convoluted and will take the reader’s imagination to its limit. For awhile the reader will chuckle, but after awhile the reader might be inclined to go ho hum. The narrator did a very good job of presenting the humor and derision as he portrayed each character, but I thought, even he must have eventually tired of the story. ( )
  thewanderingjew | Aug 22, 2016 |
Meh. It's just not that funny. The author has that bland sense of humor usually belonging to wet tshirts. Some quirkiness that I enjoyed gives it the extra star. Still, hardly worth half a read.

Pass. ( )
  cemagoc | Aug 8, 2016 |
Not fantasy and not a detective novel, just an interesting and somewhat funny story really... ( )
  Guide2 | Jul 24, 2016 |
When I began The Hundred-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson, I had no idea it had been made into a film, but after learning about it, I watched the trailer on You Tube and it seems to capture the spirit of the book. It really is a caper novel at heart.

It begins with Allan Karlsson feeling a bit disgusted with the whole idea of his hundredth birthday part at the nursing home with the mayor coming for some publicity photos while he can’t even get a good vodka. So he steps out the window and heads for the bus station.

Allan is a man who goes through life with a blithe spirit. His motto in life, his legacy from his mother, is “Things are what they are, and whatever will be will be.” He has the gift of equanimity, of accepting the world as it comes without anxiety, anger or hatred. He accepts life as it is and people as they come. He is utterly disinterested in the passions that animate most people, particularly politics He is completely uninterested in politics. All he needs is a place to sleep, food to eat and a good drink now and again.

He is, however, a highly skilled explosives expert and fascinated by anything that goes “Boom!” which leads him on adventures around the world and into enjoying meals with everyone from Truman to Stalin and many, many more greats of 20th century history. Like Zelig, he is everywhere.

I loved The Hundred-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared at the beginning. So much so I have dithered about doing this review while trying to decide between my initial love for the book and how I felt at the end. Simply put, it’s a great story that goes on too long. We could so easily have skipped Paris, or shortened the ending. It felt like there were postscripts with postscripts at the end. I kept thinking, it’s finally over and yet there was more. Jonasson needs to learn that not every loose strand has to cleanly tied up. Not really.

Nonetheless, it is overall a delightful book. It simply goes on too long and what was once delightful becomes a bit of been-there-done-that tedium. (Is that what a hundred-year life feels like?)

https://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpress.com/2016/07/05/the-hundred-year-old-man-who-climbed-out-a-window/ ( )
  Tonstant.Weader | Jul 5, 2016 |
Superb, the creativity and humour are so refreshing. Hooked from the first page to the last. Intrigued by the international characters involved and the amazing influence on them made by Allan. Oh, yes, " and they all lived happily ever after". Wonderful! ( )
  Alan1946 | Jun 25, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 203 (next | show all)
Fast-moving and relentlessly sunny, the novel quickly develops into a romp that takes in all the major events of the 20th century. . . the plot is pleasingly nimble and the book's endearing charm offers a happy alternative to the more familiar Nordic noir.
added by mysterymax | editThe Guardian, Jane Housham (Jul 24, 2012)
 
Stalin synger svenske drikkeviser, og Truman blir dritings .Forrest Gump som hundreåring i ny bok.
ANMELDELSE: Han redder general Franco, riktignok etter først å ha plassert en bombe for å drepe ham. Han avverger et attentat mot Churchill, og gir Oppenheimer den endelige løsningen på formelen for atombomben.

Det rene soap altså. Samtidig er det — på sin høyst skakke og fantasifulle måte — en fantastisk reise gjennom forrige århundre.

Jonas Jonassen er intelligent, vittig og systemkritisk, der han harver over alt fra fjollete politifolk, rasehygienikere og despoters ideologiske paranoia. I en bok som gir håp om at alle har en fremtid, også hundreåringer.
added by annek49 | editDagbladet, Cathrine Krøger (Jan 18, 2011)
 
Nästan frustande av alla förvecklingar som ryms i debuten släpper jag snart taget en bit in i läsningen. Jag inser att precis vad som helst kan hända och kommer att göra det. Författaren tycks bubbla av infallsrikedom strösslad med lite sensmoral.
 

» Add other authors (47 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jonas Jonassonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Černík, ZbyněkTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bjørnson, ElisabethTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bradbury, RodTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bree, Corry vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Podestà Heir, MargheritaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"Things are what they are, and whatever will be will be."
Dedication
Ingen kunde trollbinda sin publik bättre än morfar där han satt på ljugarbänken, lätt framåtlutad över sin käpp och med munnen full av snus.
– Nej men... är det sant, morfar? sa vi häpna barnbarn.
– Di söm bara säjer dä söm ä sanning, ä inte vär' å höra på, svarade morfar.
Den här boken är till honom.
An extra thank you to Micke, Liza, Rixon, Maud and Uncle Hans.
- Jonas
First words
Monday, 2nd May 2005

You might think he could have made up his mind earlier, and been man enough to tell the others of his decision. But Allan Karlsson had never been given to pondering things too long.
Quotations
Allan Karlsson to Prosecutor Ranelid: "You can never have too much clarity."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Confined to a nursing home and about to turn 100, Allan Karlsson, who has a larger-than-life back story as an explosives expert, climbs out of the window in his slippers and embarks on an unforgettable adventure involving thugs, a murderous elephant and a very friendly hot dog stand operator.… (more)

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