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
1 Star -- Terrible 2 Stars -- Bad 3 Stars -- Mediocre 4 Stars -- Great to the right person. 5 Stars -- Superb, you must pick this up.
A fun read, a light read.
And at times funny enough to debilitate me with laughing. This book is essentially a globe trotting, Swedish, highly intelligent Forrest Gump. Numerous events in the man's past and present life are a series of inexplicable events of luck and randomness.
Not much more to say, if that is up your alley, get this book.
I don't know about you, but why are there so so so many 5 star reviews. I LOVE books, but so few are 5 star.
By that I mean the positive attitude and it was absolutely entertaining.
I was looking for something a little less dark and depressing. It seems most mystery writers right now are a writing from bleakness. Even with tragedy every day life if rarely so black.
This was refreshing, funny, historical, a little bit of an intelligent Forest Gump. If you like history and being reminded life doesn't have to suck all the time, give it a shot. In my humble opinion worth the price of admission.
i like to read. i like to listen.
loved this story. laughed out loud so much while listening to it. it's one of those madcap stories with a zany mix of characters who bring absolute perfection to their specific roles in the story.
i love the hundred-year-old man...and i love his story. finding out his past, and how he rubbed elbows with presidents and world leaders just made it even more humorous.
the narrator was perfect -- a dry english gentleman's voice telling this silly little story.
this is the kind of book that your read to put a smile on your face, and don't want to take it too seriously.
People say I resemble my dog (and vice-versa). He can hear sounds I can't hear, but I'm the one who listens to audiobooks.
This book is so much like Forrest Gump, that I can title my review and answer this question by referring to one of the best-known lines from Gump. If life is a box of chocolates to Allan Karlsson, this book's Forrest, it is unfortunately empty at its core. Or more precisely, he (Allan) is empty at his core. His adventures, past and present, are built as much on improbable coincidence as Forrest's, but he doesn't bring anything to them other than his unquenchable thirst for vodka.
Forrest, admittedly not the brightest shrimp in the Gulf, at least has a heart and is capable of learning important lessons along the way, lessons that progressively hurtle him forward in his story. Allan doesn't learn anything, doesn't want to learn anything, doesn't get anywhere in his 100 years of life, despite his encounters with Stalin, Churchill, Mao, Truman, LBJ, Nixon, DeGaulle, Kim Il-Sung, the Manhattan Project, and Albert Einstein's Dumber Brother. Indeed, the story ends with Allan cheerily agreeing to reprise his biggest mistake in life for the third time.
With everything else in this book bordering on the wonderful, the change it so desperately needs is for Allan, the main character, to have character, to have something beneath his shell, anything, good or evil or ambivalent. It's really hard to have a main character who is completely undeveloped as a character, whose sole motivation is to locate his next bottle. I'm guessing that's the point -- that Allan is a blank canvas, a mirror that reflects only what you want to see. But the story suffers as a result, needlessly, as demonstrated by Forrest Gump, a protagonist every bit as much of a mirror, but with character, heart, and development.
Despite all that, I would recommend this book to friends and let them draw their own conclusions. Clearly, this book is popular and mine is a minority opinion. Even with my major personal caveat, there is much to enjoy about it -- the humor, obviously, and the lesson in 20th century world history that takes Americans to countries and into events that are well beyond the scope of the American History we are normally exposed to, as in Forrest Gump.
I almost always answer this question by choosing the protagonist, especially one as central to the story as Allan. But that is out of the question here. Allan is completely blank. By contrast, almost all of the minor characters are interesting -- from the present day part of the story, I really like the way Crossley performs The Beauty, and from the past, the bombastic world leaders are fun to listen to, especially Stalin, Truman, LBJ and DeGaulle.
A Swedish adaptation has already been made. I will see it when it reaches America. Perhaps the filmmaker and lead actor will bring more life to Allan than the author.
One last note: The book is structured so that most of the first half is in the present and most of the second half is in the pages of history. There is reason to like both threads of the story, but since I personally enjoyed the history more than the pedestrian present-day plot, I found myself liking it more as the story progressed, though my frustration with Allan as a character grew as we stepped back into history.
Sure, I would. It was a blast, and the reader did a fine job (especially pronouncing all of those Swedish/foreign names that I would have struggled with).
It reminded me of Forrest Gump (the movie, I haven't read the book) and I'm sure comparisons have already been made, but it also had the humor (sometimes dark humor) of light Monty Python. I'm not sure if I can think of anything that would serve as a direct comparison.
Allan, the main character.
Moved me to roll on the floor laughing out loud? Sure. Allan's first meeting with Stalin, his escape from prison in Tehran, when Mr. Dollars tried to land the plane in Bali. Too many to mention
I would listen again as the story made me laugh and was very entertaining. It is a "feel good" book and there was no angst or sadness to be found. It was just a solid book that made me happy and it made me think (in a good way!)
The story reminds me of "Forrest Gump" with all the world travels and the interesting and notable people that he meets. Then a little of the "Pink Panther" with the situations that develop and how the story eventually winds down and ends so that all is well and the good guys go on their merry way.
Mr. Crossley did an excellent job with the voices and with the accents and with pronouncing everyone's name the same way each time. His comedic timing was perfect and he made the book very enjoyable.
Well, of course it would be the 100-year-old-man! I cannot begin to imagine the tales he would have to tell and all in such an innocent and "it's not a big deal" manner. It would be a great dinner with good food and lots of vodka!
This is just an entertaining and fun book. I would recommend this one to anyone who is in the mood for a good book that tells an excellent story.
I might compare this book to Forrest Gump in the sense that Alan Carlsson finds himself meeting several different figures in history by happenstance, much like Forrest Gump does. Though Alan's adventures are all based on politics, they are still quite unique and almost impossible how he found his way through life.
I would also liken this book to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry in the sense that both main characters simply make the decision to get up from their lives and leave for a new adventure. In Alan's case, he completed many adventures and in Harold's case, it was one adventure on a specific journey.
Lost for English Words
A quirky, good-humored, informative romp through some of the main events of 20th Century history following the steps of a spry, philosophical 100-year-old retiree who invariably manages to land on his feet, no matter how tight the spot. One of the most charming books I have ever come across! The narration by Steven Crossley was an added enhancement. I loved it!
It's the first so It's at the very top!
Sonjia the elephant's debut in the book..
No but I enjoyed this one.
Report Inappropriate Content