Other Books 2013/14

Other Books – The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, Jonas Jonasson Read 23/4/14

Well that was a long title. I bought this as a Christmas present for my brother and then stole it off him. It is a translation from the original Swedish by Rod Bradbury and it follows Allan Karlsson as on the day of his 100 birthday party he climbs out of the window and, as the title says, disappears.

This book is told in two time frames, the present day and then also the story of Allan’s life. Both sides of the story are incredibly interesting and dynamic so you never get that feeling of wanting to skip the flashback and return to the story, in fact I find the flashback funnier and more engaging then the present day story. Allan has lived an incredibly life entirely by accident and I loved the way all the major events in modern  history are covered as he floats along doing his own thing.

I found this book really funny, the sense of humour is quite similar to that of Good Omens in that it is a bit silly but it is much more tongue-in-cheek and as a result it is infinitely funnier. It knows it is being ridiculous and it embraces it whole-heartedly and it’s almost like you are having an in-joke with the author about the whole story. In addition the jokes are not offensive, there is some satire about the ridiculous nature of politics but it is not cruel or mean. That being said I know not everybody finds it funny and it certainly is a type of comedy that appeals to the British sense of humour because it is very subtle.

I must mention the translation because it was so good that I never even noticed it. The book is set all around the world but it does focus on Sweden but there was never a cultural reference that I didn’t get nor did I fail to be able to picture a specific scene or part of the landscape. The tone was excellent, although it the third person you could feel Allan’s way of thinking from the language and not being able to read the original Swedish I don’t know if this was the author’s intention, but it feels right to me.

I suggest that to enjoy this book at it’s best you need to take on the mindset of Allan Karlsson: don’t take things too seriously and just go with the flow.

Rating: 4/5

Would recommend to: read on a beach under a parasol with you favourite drink beside you.

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