Title: The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared
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Author: Jonas Jonasson
First Published: 2009
Published By: HarperCollins
Format Read: Kobo Ebook
Genre: Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Adventure
Read: Jan 14 2015
May 2, 2005 marked the 100th birthday of Jonas Jonasson’s fictional protagonist Allan Karlsson. Born in Sweden in 1905, Karlsson lead an extraordinary life that indirectly played an important role in many of the major events that occurred in the 20th century. Not only are readers taken on a journey around the world but we experience exactly what happens when he climbs out of the window and disappears from his Old People Home on his 100th birthday. Originally published in Swedish, this book is part contemporary, part historical fiction, with a whole lot of adventure.
When I first heard of this book I thought that it would be whimsically humorous. While I was correct to assume humorous, The 100-Year-Old-Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared was more obscure than whimsical. This fact first came to my recognition early on when sterilization at an asylum was briefly mentioned. Needless to say this set the passive tone for the events yet to come.
I was reminded of Forrest Gump as Allan influenced each of the world events in his own way. Only he was a very intelligent man, who very much enjoyed his vodka. I admired his respectful demeanor, even to the most notorious people. Jonasson did a great job of showing a human side to the leaders of the world, who are not normally portrayed in that light. Although he did so without coming right out and mocking or condemning them. Without changing the outcome of the past 100 years, the author give readers a fictional (and comically unrealistic) alternative to how they came about, simply as a result of one man. Allan’s goals in life seemed to be just helping out when he could and finding a good meal with a stiff drink. He does so while remaining a neutrality with a strong disinterest in anything relating to religion and politics.
The way the modern day (2005) adventure was written reminded me of a “Who Done It?” type novel. Although the readers do know how the story plays out, as we are along for the whole ride from different viewpoints. I really enjoyed Allan’s “Whatever will be, will be” attitude and it made me wonder if maybe that is one of the keys to a long life.
My rating for this book is 3.5 stars as I found certain parts of this book to be long winded. Going back in history or ahead in time often made me lose track of the current setting. It also made for a longer read than I expected.
I would recommend this book to those who enjoy adventures through history.