“Never try to out drink a Swede, unless you happen to be a Finn or at least a Russian.”
– Jonass Jonasson, The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared
This afternoon I finished The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson and I cannot believe it has taken me so long to read this book! I am embarrassed to admit this book has been in my TBR pile for over two years… I know. Foolish! Thankfully, someone in my book club decided that it was a good time to read this book and so here we are, another fabulous book ticked off the list!
On Monday 2nd of May, 2005, Allan Karlsson is sitting in his room waiting for his 100th birthday party to start. The only problem is, he really doesn’t feel like attending so he climbs out of the window and runs away. Well, he shuffles. What follows is the most extraordinary adventure that you wouldn’t believe even if it happened in front of you. At the same time as the present day story, we learn about Allan’s life leading up to his milestone birthday. And what a life he has lived!
For such an apolitical figure, he manages to rub shoulders with the biggest game changers of the 20th century. He dines, drinks and angers Franco, Stalin, Mao and Truman and he even lives off money from the Kuomintang. He befriends Albert Einstein’s half brother and crosses the Himalayas with three Marxists. As a lover of history, this book was the perfect combination of fictional and historical content. It is a delightful story that made me laugh out aloud many times. Jonasson’s characters are a band of merry misfits and they provide some light entertainment against the rather harsh and violent backdrop of the twentieth century.
If you have not already read this book, then I suggest you find a copy and a comfy chair and enjoy one hell of a ride!