After a long and eventful life, Allan Karlsson ends up in a nursing home, believing it to be his last stop. The only problem is that he's still in good health, and in one day, he turns 100. A big celebration is in the works, but Allan really isn't interested (and he'd like a bit more control over his vodka consumption). So he decides to escape. He climbs out the window in his slippers and embarks on a hilarious and entirely unexpected journey, involving, among other surprises, a suitcase stuffed with cash, some unpleasant criminals, a friendly hot-dog stand operator, and an elephant (not to mention a death by elephant).
Quirky and utterly unique, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared has charmed over 2 million people around the world.
©2009 Jonas Jonasson (P)2012 AudioGO
I was a high school history teacher and a physician assistant-retired.
How far can a story go when the protagonist starts off at 100? The answer is everywhere and anywhere. With a shifting time line, Jonasson weaves an incredible story about a remarkable man, Alan Carlson, an explosives expert with a calm temperament. Alan gets himself into more binds than Houdini, and like the great magician, wiggles his way out.
The story is not only funny, but gives the reader a lesson in Twentieth Century history. Jonasson manages to combine "Forrest Gump" with "Zelig" and comes up with an unforgettable character whose exploits manage to effect world history.
I could not give a fifth star for story only because Carlson found himself in way too many predicaments.
A funny, funny (in a dry humor, tongue-in-cheek, sort of way) book that is fascinating! Full of surprises and unexpected events. I am enjoying it sooo much! And the narrator is perfect! I listen to it on my audible.com app on my iPhone and laugh out loud a lot. I imagine, that when I am driving and the phone sits on the dash playing away, and I guffaw for several seconds, other drivers must get a bit alarmed, since there appears to be no obvious reason for my behavior. Take a listen to it and you will understand! Highly recommended!
Sounds almost as if he is narrating something about which he has personal knowledge. Like he, himself, had witnessed the events!
If I had the uninterrupted time I would. As it was, this afternoon, for instance, my dog tore apart several things in the other room while I listened to the book, rapt, and oblivious to the noises from the other end of the house! The book REALLY engages me!!!
If you know someone with a dry sense of humor or who likes quirky stories, this is the book for them! What a wonderful gift it would make for the holiday season! Thoroughly entertaining! I could imagine a group sitting and listening...and laughing and laughing! Why, they might even want to pause the reading and discuss parts of the story, considering how much history is brought up in it! A book that would be of interest and understandable equally for Europeans and Americans, which is not all that common among books.
Three words: Entertaining, Amusing, Historical. Sort of a Forest Gump meets History of the World!
Similar to Forest Gump in that there are fictional effects of the protagonist on true historical events.
Steven Crossley's excellent narration enables the listener to envision the happenings and the individuality of the characters.
Yes. Of course the length of the book prohibited me from listening all in one sitting.
Recommended to me by a friend. I, in turn, recommended it to many of mine.
I started this book and was really enjoying it when I decided to restart it because it would be good for the kids too. They are 11 & 13 and both loved it. They listened to it superficially while my wife and I listened to the rest of the story that is so cleverly interwoven with historical events. We laughed - it is great.
Warning, the language was a bit strong for the kids, though I am sure nothing they have not already heard at school. They got a stern warning not to repeat any of it.
It is a bit of a shame really, because the book would still be great without the more foul language and then it would be a perfect book to listen to with kids down to about 9 or 10. (There is only a little here and there. F@#k was the bothersome one for me with the kids)
I listened to this book on a lark - not knowing what to expect. The premise is unusual: a centenarian (Allan) "escapes" from a nursing home and goes on a wild adventure. While this adventure is unfolding, a parallel story is told about Allan's past. And what a past it is! Without spoiling the fun and inventive story telling, let's just say that Allan got around in his youth, met most of the major international players of his day, and was indirectly involved in some of the world's most pivotal geo-political-military events as well.
But back to the main story. Allan is quite the rascal and he meets up with a cast of other rascals. Along the way, they engage in remarkable acts of criminal conduct (with a wink and a nod) with little concern for the morality of their conduct. Told in a light hearted and playful manner, this book is not meant to be taken too seriously. As my "headline" notes, it is fun, inventive, and (at times) silly.
To the extent that there is a downside, there were many times when I was struck by how preposterous the story was. But I quickly concluded that I was missing the point. Despite this concern, this is a very well written and narrated story. If you are looking for something fun, this is the book for you.
Just a woman with an unhealthy addiction to literature, the beach and a ice cold drink.
Absolutely, the life and adventures of this man is so fun to listen to and pass along to others.
The whimsical optimism of the main charachter Allen - a feisty, rolliker and humdinger of a chap that simply figures all of lifes problems can be solved with a vodka, a 'why not' venture and an explosion. Sounds like what my relatives would do!
Crossley brings a sense of identity towards each charachter in the story. Well done!
Allen of course, he sounds like a blend of a few of my relatives but without the optimism, but definatlely the 'why not?' sense of life.
Overall - highly reccommend this fun book!
Allan Karlsson has lived a charmed life and he is in no mood to celebrate an upcoming 100 year party under the thumb of a domineering nursing home employee. So he climbs out a window and embarks on a fantastic adventure.
As this tale unfolds we are given flashbacks of his life that involve meeting several pivotal politicians of the last 100 years. Alan has a very refreshing optimism about life while disdaining the worst in politics and religion of all stripes.
It turns out that this simple sounding man had a lasting impact on our recent history and instead of sneering at this whimsical romp through the last century I found myself cheering the fantastic encounters with key people at crucial times. Alan's guileless observations and the authors modest descriptions of complicated historical events actually deliver a lot of wisdom.
Steven Crossley provides a superb voice to the 100 year old man and to the narration of this story by Jonas Jonasson. If you are looking for a delightful time with something a bit different then give this book a listen.
I'm seventeen and enjoy writing about the books I read. Along with literature, my interests include history, art, nature, cooking, and the occasional pop-culture reference.
This story totally deserves the international bestseller title. With infectious characters and delightful dark humor Jonasson has brought a very unique telling of some of modern history’s darkest moments to the table. Karlsson’s a protagonist you can really stand behind, his ever-constant jovial perspective on life seeps into your head as you read - reading just a chapter easily turned a few of my own sour moods around! Through lies, deceit, and unbelievable outcomes of some of the stickiest situations imagined it’s odd that friendship, however short-lived on occasion, abounds in this story. Its appearance brought this hilarious tale, down-to-earth and let the best of human nature shine.
I don’t think I’d have enjoyed this book as much as I did if it weren’t for my digesting it in an audio form. The narrator did a marvelous job and the story unfolded so perfectly, it just felt like a story that needed to be read aloud. Highly entertaining and laugh-out loud funny.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
This jolly little caper was recommended to me based on my favorable review of “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry”. While I did enjoy that lovely book very much, this selection resembles it only in the premise of an impromptu journey by a geriatric gentleman. This story could be the result of Carl Hiaasen blending Harold Fry with Forrest Gump and adding his own patented lunacy to the mix. There are two storylines at work: the current day journey of Allan Karlssen and the entourage he accumulates while trying to evade a biker gang and the police, and the historical journey of his very eventful Gump-like life that collides with every major global event from 1920 to the fall of the Soviet Union.
I found the current day story line the more entertaining of the two. Readers of Hiaasen’s books will enjoy the very dry, dark humor and root for the inevitable come-uppance dealt by karma as our merry band of fugitives dodge every peril, encouraged by Allan’s optimistic belief that “it is what it is, and what will be will be.” The historical sections were very Gumpish (as noted by many other reviewers), but better because through Allan’s stubbornly apolitical viewpoint, no country or political party escapes a dark satirical skewering. My only complaint was how revisiting history slowed down the more entertaining escape story. Still, it is only a small complaint, because there comes a scene near the end when all those previous historical encounters are bundled together to great hilarity at one person’s expense.
For those who enjoyed Harold Fry for the sweet, gentle tone and ultimately life redeeming message, you may not respond well to the darkness in this story if you are hoping for a repeat. Hiaasen’s fans will have to adjust to a very British reader and a more dry delivery than that author employs. But if those adjustments can be made, if you can just hop on board and take the journey with Allan, then you may be very pleased with “what it is, and what will be.”
Love a good mystery, but don't care much for pure thrillers.
This is an amusing story, but satire is difficult medium to sustain for the length of a novel. The protagonist, Allan Karlsson, is a lot like Forrest Gump, with similar attributes other than being mentally retarded, bumbling into situations in which he is regarded as brilliant. The style is also similar inasmuch as it is episodic. The author alternates between the present time (2005) and earlier periods of Allan's life, and it works for a while but also gets a bit stale. One difference from Gump is Allan's capacity to drink unlimited quantities of vodka and other forms of alcohol, but that is in character with his being Swedish, I suppose. In order to appreciate this book, you need to approach it like a cartoon or comic book, totally unrealistic machinations and unbelievable coincidences. I enjoyed many of the characters but after a while, I was ready for the book to end, and it took longer to get there than I expected.
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