Book Review: The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window and Disappeared, by Jonas Jonasson

Humor is not a genre that I read often. But when this book was being recommended by many as a good read, I thought I’d pick it up. The title was quite funny, the blurb interesting, and the cover art appealing.

The novel begins on the one-hundredth birthday of Allan Karlson. The old man does not wish to celebrate the day, but he does not have it his way. A big celebration has been planned, with the Mayor expected to come to the old age home he’s living in. The press will be there too. But the centenarian decides that he will not. And while the rest of the world around him plans for the party, he climbs out his window and walks off. He waits at the bus station for a bus to take him out of town, but going on whim, he decides to steal someone’s suitcase. That decision opens up a can of worms. The owner of the suitcase (which has a lot of money) gives chase, and when he catches up with Allan, the centenarian (and a new ally he meets) somehow manages to kill him. The police (who were initially investigating Allan’s disappearance) now follow the trails to chase Allan as well. One situation keeps leading into another, and the centenarian manages to evade them. On an alternate timeline, the novel follows Allan’s past life. The old man seems to have had quite a fantastic past, and has played a role in many key events of the past, the most notable of which, perhaps, is the creation of the atom bomb.

The plot of the book is just unbelievable. It’s hard to imagine that one person was involved with so many events in history. Because of this, there’s no logic to the flow. The plot of the novel and the character of Allan Karlson goes in a similar way, I feel. At the beginning, both are hilarious. The antics that follow after Karlson steals the suitcase and opens up the can of worms, it’s really funny. But as it progresses, it becomes tiresome. There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. And when that happens, it becomes slightly irritating. Prosecutor Ranelid quite summed it up with his dialogue, “In the name of God, get to the point!” I admire the imagination of the author to concoct such a plot, but I felt the book was a hundred pages longer than it needed to be (at least).

Was it engaging? Yes, it was; but not from cover to cover. Would I read it again? Probably not. I might, however, peruse the author’s other works to see if they are any better.


A Score Of 5 Out Of 10
Book Details
Title: The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window and Disappeared
Author(s):
Jonas Jonasson
Genre: Humor Fiction
ISBN/ASIN: 9780349141800 Publisher: Little Brown Group

No payment was taken for this review. The views expressed here are mine, and they remain uninfluenced and unbiased.


(© Vinay Leo R. @ A Bookworm’s Musing
30th March 2017)

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