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)
There are no listener reviews for this title yet.
"Made me laugh"
although slow to start - this book creeps up on you and becomes absorbing mand made me laugh out loud
Allan with his laid back attitude, was undoubtedly my favourite character
A light hearted book - Written tongue in cheek - made me laugh out loud
"Oblique and witty but declines badly"
This is both a crime caper and a comic round-the-world romp. It tells the story of a man’s life from 1905 to 2005 and beyond and at the same time gives a clever, witty (and often ridiculous) angle on various historical events. The man’s story, and the manner of the telling, are also clever, witty (and often ridiculous).
I agree with those who compared it with Forrest Gump and Any Human Heart (I would add New Confessions, also by William Boyd). At its best this one is as good as William Boyd though Boyd’s novels are consistently enthralling to the end and generally plausible, unlike this. (Sorry, I can’t agree with those who thought the story was plausible - it obeys the laws of physics and is reasonably faithful to the laws of human behaviour but overall it comes across as neither plausible nor intended to be).
If you have read other reviews, you will have seen that the book contains two interleaved stories: Allan’s life up to age 100 and Allen’s life starting on his 100th birthday. I prefer to make a further division and I will use this to explain my mixed views of the book:
1. The story up to his 100th birthday I found interesting. It seems to be well researched into 20th century history and shows an oblique and irreverent view of international affairs. This is where the writing is at its wittiest. I loved the joke about Nixon though unfortunately the author seems to have worried it might be too subtle and went on to explain it.
2. The story from Allan’s 100th birthday until about a week later, I found entertaining both in the events and the writing style. There is a refreshing childish logic in the explanations and in the frequent unexpected turns of events. It didn’t make me laugh but it made me smile many times.
3. For me the book peaked with the event which, to avoid spoilers, I will call “sit and don’t sit”. After that it became too ridiculous for my taste. The next major plot twist was of “fairy-godmother arrived and they all lived happily ever after” proportions and from that moment to the end I couldn't get interested in the people or what happened to them. The problem was perhaps that the story accelerated as it proceeded. Early on, circumstances developed slowly, allowing time to savour their delicious peculiarities and that is where I most enjoyed the reading.
Overall, it had an original, refreshing feel and I would have given a stronger recommendation but for the last quarter
I really enjoyed this book, I loved the comedy but also the historical tales, different from my usual reads but it was very good
"Light, Surprising, hilarious..."
One of the best
The sometimes wonderful stupidity of the events but so light and subtile, they were adorable anyway.
The 100 year old man.
There were many moments. But each time Alan came across a President it was a great moment.
Recommended. Grows on you throughout the book. An evergreen. Funny from time to time, but over all a pleasant flow.
"A Swedish Forest Gump"
As my review title says, this is a sort of Swedish Forest Gump. The protagonist is a man who is remarkably ignorant in many ways but who has a very down to earth common sense that serves him well. He manages to impact upon history to such an extent that we are to believe that the modern world would not have happened without him.
It's very funny in parts and takes a lot of unexpected twists. So many twists, that at times you can get a bit lost. But it's well worth listening to. The narrator is absolutely excellent and manages to distinguish between the characters effortlessly.
"A laugh a minute"
Completely funny story. Read really well. Captivating- I couldn't stop listening. I'd love to have meet Allan. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
"Great fun, epicly ridiculous."
A story not dissimilar to Forrest Gump. laced with black humour, lots of vodka and a world trip thru inadvertant political peacemaking.
Some very touching and laugh out loud moments in a tale that takes you from the present into historical events that allows your imagination to mix with reality!
"One of my favourite books."
One of the best books even better as an audio book given the different languages.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.