Sitting quietly in his room in an old people's home, Allan Karlsson is waiting for a party he doesn't want to begin: his 100th birthday party. Escaping through his bedroom window, into the flowerbed, Allan makes his getaway. And so begins his picaresque and unlikely journey involving criminals, several deaths, a suitcase full of cash, and incompetent but very human police. As his escapades unfold, Allan's earlier life is revealed, and we discover that he played a key role behind the scenes in some of the momentous events of the 20th century.
This ‘imaginative, laugh-out-loud bestseller’ (Daily Telegraph) has sold more than two million printed copies.
©2009 Jonas Jonasson (P)2012 Strathmore Publishing Ltd
“Like Forrest Gump, Allan is an innocent with the knack of being in the right place at the right time. He has had a hand in everything from the Russian revolution to Reagan's Star Wars. Like Allan, the plot is pleasingly nimble and the book's endearing charm offers a happy alternative to the more familiar Nordic noir.” (The Guardian)
Original black humour
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Similar characters and similar black humour. An aging pensioner goes through a series of unexpected adventures while looking back over the past events of his life.
Alan and his relationship with Stalin and other (in)famous world leaders was quite entertaining!
Alan for his sheer deadpan humour and eternally optimistic and simple outlook on life.
An excellent listen that I would thoroughly recommend to anyone who enjoys a laugh and a small bit of world history.
Normally preferring non-fiction, I was intrigued by the title of this book and decided to give it a go.
It didn't disappoint, Alan's story is read perfectly by the narrator and the collection of friends he collects along the way are life affirming, charming and at times laugh out loud funny.
I can't recommend this audio book highly enough.
It wasn't what I had expected. Very quirky - as the title suggests - but I found myself finding it hard to stop listening to.
This is a tricky one, there are so many odd scenes, but the possibly one of the many meetings Allan has with US presidents of the past. Or, possibly when he meets Chairman Mao, or his introduction to Franco. No, there are too many to choose just one.
No I hadn't and I was very impressed. I can think of very few books that include so many cameos from great historical of the last 100 years. Anyone who can move from Einstein to an angry female Swede in her 60's (with what sounded like a Yorkshire accent) is obviously a gifted narrator.
I could easily have listened in a single sitting. Sadly work gets in the way at times.
"An excellent listen, completely absorbing"
A wonderful tale, this is what I want from an Audiobook - great story and great narration. If only all audiobooks could be this entertaining.
This book has transferred well to audio, it comes alive - you are drawn into the characters and situation quickly and effortlessly, just as it should be for me. Not only did it make me laugh but I actually cared about the primary character.
Not one to normally write reviews as not much seems to be that worthy, but this is a thoroughly enjoyable listen and one which I wholeheartedly recommend.
"Laugh out load funny desperate to know whats next!"
An excellent read. From the first chapter it is clear than Alan is not your average centanarian! Split second decisions lead him into intriguing situations, meeting such a variety of people and getting into hilarious and dangerous scrapes with them. Alan, it seems, is able to relate to anyone, and through 'flashbacks' the reader is introduced to Alan's life before the current adventure. There is a 'Forrest Gump' feel to his past as he encouters world leaders and shapes the history of the world -all in a very 'accidental' and humble way. A tale of a very unusual life - but you have to love Alan! The tale is well crafted keeping the readers interest and leaving you keen for the next installment whenever you stop.
"One to make you smile"
We listened to this book on a long car journey in February en-route to a family pow wow on care for an elderly relative, so when it began with a man in a care home, our hearts sank. But, within just a few minutes, we were smiling and even laughing out loud at the exploits of Allan and his expanding group of friends. Yes, the story was implausable in places, but it was told with such gentle humour that if you are prepared to suspend reality and 'go with the flow', I'm sure you wiill enjoy it. Any book that can make you smile in the circumstances that we heard it has to have five stars in my mind.
"A favourite for everyone and anyone"
I really enjoyed this book, the characters and story are great and the narrator delivers it perfectly.
It is hard to talk about as you don't want to take anything away from the listeners shared adventure, at the same time talking to people who have read it is brilliant as you'll both end up laughing and endlessly recalling comic references. So it could be seen as quite a selfish act but I've recommended the audiobook to several of my friends and family and bought the book as two Christmas presents this year :)
If you stumble across this please give it a go as you won't be disappointed.
"A great listen"
Don't hesitate, just buy and listen. This book has kept me smiling and chortling for weeks. Stands up to re-listening.
"You go on a journey that you don't want to stop"
A brilliant book. I wouldn't want to give anything away as every page you turn will have you laughing and in a state of disbelief. So if you want to go on an adventure with a 100 year old Swedish man who has had an unusual, funny and amazing life then this is the book for you. I dare you not to love it.
I seem to be one of the few listeners who did not really enjoy this book. I see the word "quirky" is used a lot by people in their reviews. I don't mind " quirky" but it's relentless in this book, both in the plot and the writing style. I found my attention wandering for periods and when it came back I found I hadn't missed much. I think Forest Gump comparisons do it an injustice. This is political satire without question, and not the sentimentalist view of life in F.Gump. There's most 20th century historical horrors covered here (Spain, Russia, China, Iran etc, much of it linked by the creation and pursuit of the Bomb) as Alan, who is politically both uninterested and disinterested, stumbles from country to country in his 100 year lifetime. But it lacked bite as satire. The black comedy isn't dark enough. I found the present day farcical adventures of Alan and his friends tiresome. They lacked satire, unless there is comment on present day Sweden about which I am generally ignorant. I got to the end (just), but feel like I have eaten far too much cake.
"Off-beat charming story"
As with most Scandinavian fiction, I was expecting something off-beat and wasn't disappointed. I loved the interwoven stories of Alan's exploits in his long life (one suspected there was a little bit of truth in some of them!) with his current bizarre predicament, which had me laughing out loud at some of the very well understated comments. Listening to this novel made my task of decorating very enjoyable indeed!
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