Book Review – August 2014 – Sallie Eden

The Hundred Year Old Man who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson – Published by Hesperus Press (12 July 2012)

100 year old manI realise many of you will have read this book, however, prompted by the recent release of the film, and the polarised views the book has generated, I thought the time was right to review it for the benefit, or otherwise, of those of you who haven’t already been tempted and/or are planning to see the film.

This is journalist Jonasson’s debut novel. No surprise that it opens with the 100th birthday of Allan Karlsson, as he tries to avoid his party by climbing out of his bedroom window at a care home.

Allan’s journey starts at the bus station and unfolds via flashbacks to his earlier life as an expert bomb maker. Alternating with descriptions of his meetings with various world leaders, the story of his “great escape” unfolds.

Some of my friends have recommended this book (laugh out loud funny), others recommended it half-heartedly (funny but over-long at 400 pages) and other just got bored and abandoned it part way through. I guess, even more than most books, you should try it “according to taste”. Me? I thought it was well written, a clever idea, occasionally amusing, but very definitely in need of serious pruning.

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