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The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared Paperback – September 11, 2012
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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, intending to travel as far as his pocket money will take him. But a spur-of-the-moment decision to steal a suitcase from a fellow passenger sends Allan on a strange and unforeseen journey involving, among other things, some nasty criminals, a very large pile of cash, and an elephant named Sonya. 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, including the Spanish Civil War and the Manhattan Project. As Allan’s colorful and complex history merges with his present-day escapades, readers 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. An international best-seller, this is an engaging tale of one man’s life lived to the fullest. --Carol Gladstein
"[A] witty caper. ***1/2"―People
"[A] silly and wonderful novel. [The scenes] will just keep readers amused almost non-stop, 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, Starred
"The anti Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. . . Jonasson's lighthearted novel shows the softer side of Sweden. . . . hilarious."―Marie Claire
"Scandi-crime's signature darkness is here dispelled by Allan Karlsson, the eponymous centenarian, who with unlikely sprightliness 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."―The Guardian
"[A] laugh-out-loud debut . . . 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, Starred
"A mordantly funny and loopily freewheeling debut novel about ageing disgracefully."―The Sunday Times
"Eccentric, unusual and far-fetched in the best possible way."―The Bookseller
"This quirky novel is a sly, satirical look back at international relations in the 20th century through the eyes of an old man who has seen it all."―Library Journal
"Imaginative, laugh-out-loud . . . a brilliant satire on the foibles of mankind."―The Telegraph
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Author Jonas Jonasson has cleverly created a story that starts with the birthday of a spunky 100-year old man living in an old-age home somewhere in Sweden (I did not internalize the names of the towns and cities). The town is preparing a publicity stunt celebration for him and he decides he doesn't want to attend (no alcohol will be served), so he climbs out his window (in his slippers) and seemingly disappears (thus the title).
As the chapters progress,, we travel with him on his adventure -- as well as go back and forth through his life -- so we learn of the experiences and adventures he's survived through those 100 years. Hint: his amazing life surprisingly includes many continents, many historical leaders and events from countries around the world. Who would think that?
Don't want to give away the story, but, as I have been suggesting to my friends these days: You must read this book ... you will be glad you did!
The story jumps back and forth from present day to the past. It's not too confusing. I took off a star because there were times where I felt the story lagged and some of it was unnecessary, but thats just my opinion and overall it was an enjoyable read.
Definitely worth a read if you enjoyed Forrest Gump.