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The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (2009)

by Jonas Jonasson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The One Hundred Year Old Man (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,1883991,189 (3.68)316
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.
  1. 40
    A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (Iudita)
  2. 40
    Candide by Voltaire (gennyt)
    gennyt: Both books contain extraordinary, unlikely picaresque adventures combined with humorous satire on the politics, wars and religious issues of their time.
  3. 41
    Forrest Gump by Winston Groom (2810michael)
  4. 42
    Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (JenMDB)
  5. 20
    Gold by Dan Rhodes (Anonymous user)
  6. 10
    Popular Music from Vittula by Mikael Niemi (hilge)
    hilge: Similar Scandinavian characters are found in both books and both will make you laugh.
  7. 10
    Up and Down by Terry Fallis (JenMDB)
  8. 10
    A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz (jayne_charles)
    jayne_charles: More improbable events on an epic scale
  9. 10
    Exit Lines by Joan Barfoot (JooniperD)
    JooniperD: Exit Lines, set in a nursing home, is a thoughtful, honest book about human inter-connectivity and longevity.
  10. 10
    Callisto by Torsten Krol (Booksloth)
  11. 10
    The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson (Anonymous user)
  12. 10
    The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (Alliebadger)
  13. 00
    Carrying Albert Home: The Somewhat True Story of A Man, His Wife, and Her Alligator by Homer Hickam (MarthaJeanne)
    MarthaJeanne: Both are road trips with more interesting stops than internal logic.
  14. 00
    Kurz nach 4 by Ulrich Becher (chwiggy)
  15. 00
    Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  16. 00
    Norwegian by Night by Derek B. Miller (kristenl)
    kristenl: Both stories are centered around old men, and both contain historical flashbacks.
  17. 00
    Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant (JenMDB)
  18. 00
    All Quiet on the Orient Express by Magnus Mills (Anonymous user)
  19. 00
    The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen (rrmmff2000)
    rrmmff2000: Lighthearted Nordic stories with no particular destination or hurry to get there.
  20. 00
    This is Life by Dan Rhodes (Anonymous user)

(see all 23 recommendations)


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» See also 316 mentions

English (307)  Spanish (22)  Dutch (17)  French (15)  German (13)  Catalan (7)  Italian (5)  Norwegian (3)  Finnish (3)  Danish (3)  Swedish (2)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (398)
Showing 1-5 of 307 (next | show all)
The author's writing style is a bit different and I can see why it might not be enjoyable for some, but it was a fun and refreshing reprieve from those that contain emotionally charged storylines. ( )
  Headinherbooks_27 | May 9, 2021 |
Cute isn't the right word for this book but alas, it's the one that is coming to me right now. The Hundred Year Old Man is sort of a Swedish Forrest Gump in that he meets and advises people (like Presidents) but does it for a variety of reasons. I found the book charming. Yes! That's the world. I spent most of it smiling at the antics of Allan and his gang. Not a quick read but definitely worth the time. ( )
  Stacie-C | May 8, 2021 |
This is delightful. Part Forrest Gump. Part Being There. All Swedish.

I picked it up on a whim and I'm very glad I did. ( )
  KittyCunningham | Apr 26, 2021 |
Writing humour, I believe, is probably the most difficult literary discipline, because humour is such an individualistic concept. What one person finds gut-bustingly funny, another finds offensive, or ridiculous, or just plain not hilarious, not even worth a Sheldon Cooper breathy ha-ha.

Given that introduction to this review, you're going to think: ah, she really didn't like Jonasson's absurd saga. That would be correct. However, my negative reaction to Jonasson's epic (and no, I'm not going to write out the title because it's just too long), has more to do with plausibility (yes, yes, I know, this is an absurd story and so plausibility ostensibly has been swallowed by a black hole) and rather lackluster prose.

I was willing to follow along Jonasson's story while the main character, Allan Karlsson, climbs out the window to escape his centenary birthday party and the retirement home to which he's been relegated. I was even willing to follow Allan aboard the bus with the appropriated suitcase full of drug money foisted on him by an intellectually hampered drug-dealing youth. However, when the story ventured into wilder and more improbable history and escapades: a frozen body shipping off to Djibouti, an accidental body-crushing by an elephant sitting down, shoving said elephant into a school bus with a host of other misfits absconding from society (did Jonasson have any idea how much food required, and shit created, by an elephant riding around in said school bus?!), apparent assistance creating the original atom bomb, being an essential strategist with the Kuomintang, a detective assisting Swedish police to prevent as assassination attempt on Winston Churchill....

And that's just for starters. It's all just so ridiculous. It's like reading some adolescent attempt at story-craft in which the writer just starts scribbling down ideas and themes, with no concept whatever how to string that all into a believable, cohesive whole. Yes, yes, I know all about absurd humour. Just look at Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. Brilliant! But Jonasson? Dear gawd, no. Not a scintillating paragraph or thought or scrap of prose in the entire novel. Just an endless stream of consciousness of:


Give me a break.

Read or not. Who cares? I'm out of here. ( )
  fiverivers | Apr 20, 2021 |
There were two stories in this book.
#1 A modern day crime caper.
#2 A historical fiction Forrest Gump like story.
At one point I wished the book was one or the other. Both were compelling, but they were distracting being together. (I did get over this)

I enjoyed telling the plot (in detail) to my husband when I was about half of the way in. There is so much going on in this book it was fun trying to explain and then guessing where it would go next. ( )
  curious_squid | Apr 5, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 307 (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 (45 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jonas Jonassonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Černík, ZbyněkTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bjørnson, ElisabethTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bradbury, RodTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bree, Corry vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Crossley, StevenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kuhn, WibkeÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Podestà Heir, MargheritaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Things are what they are, and whatever will be will be."
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.
Dedication on first page: Ingen var bedre til at trykkebinde sine tilhørere end morfar, som han sad der på skrønebænken, lænet frem over stokken og med munden fuld af snus."Jamen ... passer det, morfar?" måbede vi børnebørn."Dem, der kuns siger noget, der passer, de er itt' værd å hør' på," svarede morfar.Denne bog er tilegnet ham.Jonas Jonassson
An extra thank you to Micke, Liza, Rixon, Maud and Uncle Hans.
- Jonas
Dedication on last page: En særlig tak til Micke, Lizza, Rixon, Maud og morbror Hans.
First words
Monday, 2nd May 2005

You might think he could have made up his mind earlier, and been man enough to inform his surroundings of his decision. But Allan Karlsson had never been given to pondering things too long.
Man kan mene, at han burde have bestemt sig noget før, og at han burde have været mand for at meddele omgivelserne sin beslutning. Men det havde aldrig ligget til Allan Karlsson at gruble for længe over tingene.Altså nåede tanken kun lige at slå rod i den gamle mands hoved, før han åbnede vinduet til sit værelse i stueetagen på plejehjemmet i Malmköping i Sörmland og kravlede ud i bedet.
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.

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