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)
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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.
"Loved it - crazy fun!"
I loved the way that there was such believability in the nonsense of the story!
Despite their seeming simplicity and naivety, the characters were actually very deep and complex - particularly the old man; he was so loveable and well thought out
The 100 year old man was fabulous
You never know, it could have happened!
Great story - unusual, funny, clever!
"A book that will make you laugh out loud.."
Tongue in cheek fun, I enjoyed how different it was, a stand alone that you cannot put into any one category, the ridiculous title says it all and you couldn't possibly call it anything else, I personally was carried away and well a book always gets my vote if it makes me laugh, I was reminded of my history and well who couldn't love a 100 year old bomb maker with a penchant for running into trouble.
"I couldn't believe how good it was"
I was put off by the name and the description, and thought I'd make a mistake in buying it on the basis of all the good reviews. However, it is simply enchanting and I'm so sad to have finished it. But I will go back to it as it is the sort of book that you will want to return to. And the narration is just perfect.
"A clever pleasure"
I have been busily recommending this since I finished listening to it. I took the long way home from work several days in a row so that I could spend more time listening to it. Black humour, feel-good, clever story structure, very likeable characters and a superb narration. It is one of those books you take a punt on and are massively rewarded. It is a treat and if you love a page-turner that will have you thinking about it long after you finish it then follow the 100 year old man out the window and adopt is philosophy. You will be glad you did.
"Interesting Story but....."
This book has a wonderful story with comedy turns and unexpected twists. The story makes you feel very close to the 100-year old man and the more you discover about his unbelievable life the more he grows on you. The story is split into 2 definite narratives of the 100 year old's life and what he got up to after leaving the old peoples home. Both blend into one another beautifully with the ending bringing both stories perfectly together.
Despite being a great story I found the way it was written to be difficult to become accustomed too. Perhaps listening to this on the back of the final two parts of the Stieg Larsson trilogy didn't help but I found it to be written very much in the style of a children's book. This was obviously the intention but it did not match my preference.
I did stick it out and did get used to the style after time but think this was mainly due to wanting to know what happened next in the 100 year old mans life.
The narration was very well done. All was clear, different character were identifiable and the general tone in which the book was read matched perfectly to it's character.
In conclusion, I would recommend this book but also provide a little heads up on the writing style, as it may not be to every-ones taste. If you are still having doubts, listen to the sample and make your own judgement.
I read loads of good reviews, but for some reason this book just didn't do it for me. Although a lot seemed to happen, I just didn't care. Sometimes I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be funny. But I didn't lime Mr Hundred Year Old, so I just didn't care. I didn't find him funny.
"Very pleasantly surprised"
I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would; I'm so glad I took the chance with it. I loved hearing about Allan's life and his inadvertent influence and involvement in historical events. I found myself smiling throughout and it is laugh out loud in places. I especially loved the chapter when they were recounting their story to the Prosecutor. This was very well-read.
"A bit too clever for its own good?"
A highly enjoyable listen with witty, sharp writing and a 'flashback' approach with interesting historical setpieces providing colour and context to the main character's life. All of this applied for the first half of the book. However, after the midpoint, the random nature (and length) of the historical stuff became irritating and was not adding anything to the main storyline for me. In addition, the chirpy, slightly smug style of the reader started to grate. Finishing the book was something of a relief. I would not buy another book by the same author.
Found this an enjoyable book, and interesting view of one man's life full of interest and twists.
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