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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
6,7994121,137 (3.67)323
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. 41
    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. 20
    Gold by Dan Rhodes (Anonymous user)
  4. 43
    Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (JenMDB)
  5. 10
    Popular Music from Vittula by Mikael Niemi (hilge)
    hilge: Similar Scandinavian characters are found in both books and both will make you laugh.
  6. 10
    Up and Down by Terry Fallis (JenMDB)
  7. 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.
  8. 10
    A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz (jayne_charles)
    jayne_charles: More improbable events on an epic scale
  9. 10
    Callisto by Torsten Krol (Booksloth)
  10. 10
    The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (Alliebadger)
  11. 10
    The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson (Anonymous user)
  12. 32
    Forrest Gump by Winston Groom (2810michael)
  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. 11
    Samlede skrøner II by Jørn Riel (2810michael)
  19. 00
    All Quiet on the Orient Express by Magnus Mills (Anonymous user)
  20. 00
    This is Life by Dan Rhodes (Anonymous user)

(see all 23 recommendations)


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» See also 323 mentions

English (320)  Spanish (23)  Dutch (17)  French (15)  German (13)  Catalan (7)  Italian (5)  Norwegian (3)  Finnish (3)  Danish (3)  Swedish (2)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (412)
Showing 1-5 of 320 (next | show all)
  archivomorero | Jun 27, 2022 |
Sérkennileg bók og oft á tíðum skemmtileg. Minnir töluvert á sögurnar af baróninum af Münchausen og Forrest Gump. Jonas leikur sér með ólíkindafrásögn og hrífur mann oft á tíðum með sér en verður á stundum langdregin. ( )
  SkuliSael | Apr 28, 2022 |
A whimsical, comic life (both present and lifetime) story of Allan Karlsson, the titular 100 year old man, who runs away from his retirement village on the day of his 100th birthday.

There is no way that his life is ordinary or even believable, but as many reviewers have commented, but the book uses the structure used in Forrest Gump (of Forrest's life being a series of fortuitous interactions with real life people and events, and his reactions to those).

But built around that are also the adventures of Allan in the days and weeks after he runs away from his retirement village. The back cover references a suitcase of cash, a few thugs, a very friendly hot-dog stand operator, a few deaths an elephant and incompetent police force, so there are no real spoilers in that sentence.

It is a bit of a shaggy dog story, but an amusing, light hearted read.

Some further comments:

- I did not get the faded monochromatic (almost Rorschach test pictures - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rorschach_test) that appear at the beginning of each chapter, until I realised that they maps which (largely) depict those areas which are most relevant to the action in that chapter. But not consistently: eg Chapter 25 alludes to the Horn of Africa, though the map has it appearing in the far bottom right of the map, rather being front and center; Chapter 29's map (which reprises Allan's decision to run away from his home in Sweden ) depicts western Europe and North Africa; the Epilogue (which references Allan's final days (for the book - there is a sequel apparently) in Bali, has a map which does not include Indonesia at all. Perhaps, the joke is on me and I have failed the Rorschach tests and they are not maps at all!

- as already mentioned, the book has the parallel stories of Allan's present and past life stories. I liked the fact that the chapters do not follow a rigid present/past/present regime nor that the chapters varied quite markedly in length. One got the impression that the author told what was appropriate and then moved on, without feeling that one had to pad out a chapter so that it had to approximate other chapters

- Allan's philosophy (adopted from his mother, page 30-31) is "that it was what is was, and that in the future whatever would be would be" which invokes not only:

the Que Sera Sera routine of Doris Day in Hitchcock's The Man who Knew Too Much;
but also Mark Rylance's character Rudolf Abel in that great movie Bridge of Sighs, in which Abel is arrested in the late 1950s New York as being a Soviet spy, who is
represented by Tom Hanks' lawyer character (James Donovan). At various stages when Abel is faced with difficult/dangerous circumstances seemingly imperturbably,
he is asked "aren't you worried/concerned?", to which Abel's response is an almost dead pan "would it help?"

- The opening scene reminded me very much of the opening scene in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, where Bilbo Baggins is (unlike Allan here) planning to attend his 111th birthday but to disappear mid party. Of course the reasons for wanting to run away/escape are very different but the feelings of each character (being hemmed in by surrounding circumstances/ expectations) have a number of similarities.

As already mentioned, there is apparently a sequel and a movie as to this book. I don't think I will be rushing out to find the sequel (though I have seen some reviews suggesting the sequel is at least as good as, if not better than the original). It would be interesting to see how they went about the movie, so perhaps that is one to look out for if this book took your interest.

Big Ship
25 April 2022 ( )
  bigship | Apr 25, 2022 |
IF you are looking for a fun light read, this is for you. I laughed at least throughout the whole book. ( )
  Christilee394 | Feb 4, 2022 |
In German
  lisbethc | Jan 10, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 320 (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 (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jonas Jonassonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Černík, ZbyněkTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Berg, CarolineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bjørnson, ElisabethTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bradbury, RodTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brænne, TrondNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bree, Corry vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Crossley, StevenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Granath, BjörnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kuhn, WibkeÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pascual Pape, Sofía AnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Podestà Heir, MargheritaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Solanes, LluísTranslatorsecondary 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."
Last words
(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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