Today's post is another book review, to add to my collection - the most recent being Salt & Honey, a wonderful book set in South Africa, which I reviewed here.
I just finished reading Jonas Jonasson's The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared after a couple of weeks of getting well and truly stuck into it. I picked this book up in Waterstone's months ago and it was sat on my to read shelf for quite a while before intrigue got the better of me and I decided I'd best give it a go. And, believe me, I'm so glad I did.
(As you can see from the photo, my copy is now well worn after many trips in the bath with me!)
The title was what had initially drawn me to the book. It's not everyday that you get to read about a hundred year old man making a run for it.
The story is based in Sweden and the main character, one Allan Karlsson, is an elderly but most certainly not decrepit Swedish man, with a wealth of adventure and experience behind him, and he isn't ready to give up those adventures just yet. So, he does exactly what it says on the
tin cover: he climbs out of the window, and disappears.
One of my favourite things about the narrative style was that it swapped between present day - as care home escapee Allan travels across Sweden with no real destination in mind - and a past tense, almost biographical, format; giving the reader an in-depth insight into Allan's former years, from birth right up to just before he climbed out of the window, on his final, epic adventure.
We learn, throughout the novel, that Allan played a key part in many historical events - from the making of the atom bomb to communism in Russia, China and North Korea; all seemingly unlikely but so ridiculously believable due to Jonasson's story telling prowess.
There are many crucial characters in the novel and none of them fail to deliver on substance or relevance, each adding something to the story and complimenting Allan's character. Each character is also described in a somewhat humorous way, and I loved that this humour was present throughout the book. It takes a lot for a book to make me laugh out loud, but this one did.
As well as a hugely entertaining, and at times very moving, tale The Hundred-Year-Old Man is also an inspiring read. It made me want to forget about planning and worrying and just embrace the moment and see where it can lead, just as Allan does for his whole life, seemingly without a care in the world.
I whole-heartedly recommend this book to anyone looking for something a little bit different, and to anyone who likes to read something with the ability to make them smile. I can't wait to see the film, I just hope it lives up to my expectations!