The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared (#1) by Jonas Jonasson

Published: 12th July 2012Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Hesperus Press
Pages: 396
Format: Paperback
Translator: Rachel Wilson-Broyles
Genre: Fiction
★ – 2 Stars

It all starts on the one-hundredth birthday of Allan Karlsson. Sitting quietly in his room in an old people’s home, he is waiting for the party he-never-wanted-anyway to begin. The Mayor is going to be there. The press is going to be there. But, as it turns out, Allan is not… Slowly but surely Allan climbs out of his bedroom window, into the flowerbed (in his slippers) and makes his getaway. And so begins his picaresque and unlikely journey involving criminals, several murders, a suitcase full of cash, and incompetent police. As his escapades unfold, we learn something of Allan’s earlier life in which – remarkably – he helped to make the atom bomb, became friends with American presidents, Russian tyrants, and Chinese leaders, and was a participant behind the scenes in many key events of the twentieth century. 

Having this on my TBR list for years finally ended as I read this and…it’s ok. I guess. Maybe. It’s a Swedish Forrest Gump style book where Allan unintentionally interacts with some of the major points of human history and the roles he played in them. However, despite this premise, the only parts even remotely interesting were the present day events. I didn’t mind the flashbacks in the first half, Allan’s life was funny, strange, tragic and bizarre, but about the half way point my interest was waning and I could not stay focused on the events. I found myself skimming and skipping until the present day picked up again. By the end of it I was skipping those chapters entirely and to be honest I noticed no difference in the story even at the end I was so uninvested I accepted the events and just went with it.

The flashbacks to Allan’s life have very little to do with anything that happens aside from giving us an insight to his previous adventurous life. Even the brief revisit to them in the present day is essentially pointless. They are not even depicted as Allan telling his story so the question of a reliable narrator never comes up, it’s just there as a comparison to his current adventures.

The present day plot is the most interesting part of this semi-interesting story. Allan’s adventures do not go unnoticed, there is a dedicated policeman trying to follow behind and work out what has happened and trying to solve the trail of crimes and mysteries that follow Allan. This gave off strong Monty Python and the Holy Grail vibes which increased my enjoyment.

The writing is filled with dark humour and while you may have to be prone to enjoy such humour it does throw it in your face probably more than necessary. I did not feel much connection to this story and while Allan is a mildly apathetic character, as are most of them in some way, Jonasson relies on the reader finding his manner charming and quirky and as these unfortunate and absurd events play out that should be enough to engage us.

Credit to Jonasson, it is a clever concept and I’m glad it has been enjoyed by so many people. I couldn’t quite engage with the story and I’m wondering now that Allan’s entire life has been explained, the sequels will focus more on his further adventures and less recap of his life.

I watched the movie afterwards and it was a whole lot better than sitting through the book. It is quite true to the events in the book and seeing the events play out on screen made them more enjoyable. I’d definitely recommend that over the book if you are looking to see what all the fuss is about without reading the book.

You can purchase The Hundred-year-Old Man… via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

Book Bingo 2019 Update #1

BingoThe first four months of the year have passed, way too quickly for my liking but here we are. Now that May has arrived it’s time for the first update in my Book Bingo Challenge. This is inadvertently and definitely the year for reading the things I’ve been meaning to read for a super embarrassingly long time.

I am still not trying to make a line at the moment even though I am very close, I am more curious to find later that I’ve read something that will fit into a box. A small part of me though is keeping an eye out for suitable books that I can read that fall into my categories. It’s a complicated mash up of all the things which is working totally fine for me right now. In all honestly I’m just a little happy I am remembering to actively participate in my own bingo challenge this year.

 

Debut Author

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

I was so excited to read this story and Green did not disappoint. I love his complex ideas and the insight of the media and the internet community is something he is more than qualified to explore. With gripping writing and a wonderful science fiction aspect it is a wonderful story and I am so excited (and impatient) for the sequel.

Non-Fiction

Good Girl Stripped Bare by Tracey Spicer

A few years behind the fuss I’m glad I finally got to read this story. I listened to Tracey tell the story herself and from her voice it was interesting hearing her go through her life and career with all the challenges she’s faced. It is an eye opening story and one that it great to hear from someone inside the industry. It isn’t the most powerful book, but it does its best.

Set in Australia

The Lost Man by Jane Harper

This may be Harper’s best work yet. I loved her subtle connection to her other characters and this family oriented, complicated, isolated story was one I could not put down. I read from cover to cover in one sitting and loved every minute of it. There’s suspense, drama, emotions, and moral dilemmas. What more could you want?

#ownvoices

Catching Teller Crow by Ambelin Kwaymullina

I loved how Kwaymullina tells this story. It is profound, mystical, enlightening and a captivating story. The Aboriginal culture is celebrated and I loved how spirituality and practice of two different cultures come together. It’s a beautiful, harrowing story and draws you in.

 

On TBR For More Than Two Years

Return to the Hundred Acre Wood by David Benedictus

Benedictus has captured Milne’s voice beautifully. There is a difference I will admit, but the heart is there, and it is clearly the best voice to carry on the story of Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin. The stories ring true to those from decades ago and you can picture Pooh vividly as well as all the friends we’ve come to know and love.

 

Movie Adaptation

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

This is a strange book that definitely appeals to some more than others. The movie is a decent adaptation and I would suggest if you didn’t like the book or haven’t gotten around to reading it, go for the film instead. It’s much more enjoyable with the good quirkiness kept in and the better parts of the story being included.

Non Human MC

Watership Down by Richard Adams

I have finally gotten around to reading this classic despite catching a few references over the years. A decent read and one that wasn’t as grand as I first thought, but dramatic all the same. There is a realism in the animals but there is also a logic and worldly knowledge.

 

Fantasy

The Wicked King

Holly Black has shown her master skills once more as we continue in this series. It is the perfect fantasy with magic, foreign lands, war, humans and a mess of all them combined. The magical world Black constructs is fascinating and filled with complicated drama to keep you always guessing and certainly eager for the story to never end.

A Classic

The Handmaid's TaleThe Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Having known the general idea of the novel before starting I was surprised at the actual exploration of this dystopian world. I enjoyed the strangeness of the story and the fact we are never quite given any answers. I’m glad I can tick this book of my list at last.

 

Book Bingo 2019

I love participating in Book Bingo, even if I keep forgetting sometimes. I love challenging myself to read a wide variety of books and styles. I could happily spend the year just reading YA and picture books (I probably will also do that), but this gives me a chance to discover so many new and wonderful authors and content.

For 2019 I’m looking at reading a variety of stories, voices, and genres I don’t explore that often. A lot of my choices are new or recent additions but there a few favourites because there are so many books out there I want to read I need to have a few reoccurring squares. I finally picked my last few squares so now I can start crossing them off. I don’t know if I will do a full card this year, but I will try for as many lines completed as I can.

Are you going to participate in a Book Bingo this year? As in previous years, you are more than welcome to borrow my card for your own Book Bingo, just remember to link to my page and attribute me properly. If you don’t want to use this one, follow my Book Bingo tag to find previous cards to use.

 

Book Bingo 2018: Win

I often think it is a sign of a great blog feature that gets posted in January and then completely ignored and partially forgotten about until a final post in December. Real winning formula there. I feel bad I neglected it so but by some pure miracle I have managed to achieve a Bingo and actually completed all my bubbles! Without trying I filled all but two and they were easy to complete.

I read a great selection of books this year. Even without trying to complete the bingo I read a lot of LGBT books and went on a little binge of m/m books which were divine. I found a couple of favourites doing that, one even became one of my Top 5 for the year! Actually looking at the list four books from my bingo ended up on my Top 5 of 2018 which was excellent. But that is for another post to come.

Looking at my post in January it’s full of optimism because I was going to be more productive and organised. It’s only slightly comical how that has failed.

“I am looking to get a full card this year” – Serendipitous success

“My second idealistic goal is actually doing updates through the year” – Failed hilariously

“Review them” – Smidge successful

I suppose, one can forgive the neglect since I managed to achieve a full card. No updates and few reviews aside, it might be my first win at total completion. I have listed the books below with links if they have reviews if you want to check them out. I will be creating my 2019 Book Bingo card soon if you want to join in for next year, or you are welcome to use one of the ones I have created in previous years.

 

Beauty in Thorns | A Thousand Perfect Notes | The Younger Man | Christopher Robin: A Boy, Bear, Balloon | Sisterhood Everlasting

The Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe | Harry Potter | Lord of the Rings | I Want To Be in a Book | Just Juliet

Dear Evan Hansen | Artemis | Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle | Loving Laykn | The Adventure Zone: Here there be Gerblins

The Hate U Give | Clifford the Big Red Dog | Naughty Kitty | I am Jazz | Heartstrings

The Women in Black | Noah’s Song | Vera | Boys Will Be Boys | The Little Prince

 

Book Bingo 2018

This is my third year doing a book bingo challenge and despite the fact I often forget I’ve decided to do it, I enjoy it a lot. With 2018 underway it is another year and another chance to achieve bingo glory. As I stated in my Bingo 2017 wrap up post I’m keeping last year’s bingo card instead of making up a new one. I enjoyed the categories too much to not have another go at them this year. I am looking to get a full card this year as well. These are the kind of idealistic goals I have in January before the reality of life kicks in.

My second idealistic goal is actually doing updates through the year, unlike last year where I forgot entirely and basically posted my first post and then the final post. The third goal is to review them, but that is somewhat successful, but maybe more successful this year is also a goal.

Are you going to participate in a Book Bingo this year? As in previous years, you are more than welcome to borrow my card for your own Book Bingo, just remember to link to my page and attribute me properly.

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