The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

Scandinavian crime thrillers are usually dark and disturbing. Jonas Jonasson has taken a departure from this sinister style creating a quirky book with equally eccentric characters. I love the premise. Allan Karlsson, our centenarian protagonist hops out of the window of his "old folks' home" to further his life and need for adventure. With this as the beginning, you can only imagine that this story is loaded with ludicrousness. The book flips from present to the past where Allan has been involved in many of the major events of the 20th century. He has rubbed elbows with influential world leaders including Franco, Truman, Stalin, and Mao. Allan's present-day escapade turns into a crime caper filled with strange, scandalous characters that join in the fun. All of Jonasson’s characters are masterfully inventive. I especially loved the hot dog vendor with a multitude of almost completed degrees, Beauty, the red head who spews profanity and of course Sonya, the elephant. The book is odd but delightfully charming and very creative. It offers a radical change of pace to the harsh Nordic tales audiences have grown accustomed. Additionally Jonasson puts a wonderful spin on aging, showing growing older doesn’t have to be bad!

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