The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

4.3 55
by Jonas Jonasson
     
 

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The international publishing sensation--over six million copies sold worldwide!

A reluctant centenarian much like Forrest Gump (if Gump were an explosives expert with a fondness for vodka) decides it's not too late to start over . . .

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

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Overview

The international publishing sensation--over six million copies sold worldwide!

A reluctant centenarian much like Forrest Gump (if Gump were an explosives expert with a fondness for vodka) decides it's not too late to start over . . .

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).

It would be the adventure of a lifetime for anyone else, but Allan has a larger-than-life backstory: Not only has he witnessed some of the most important events of the twentieth century, but he has actually played a key role in them. Starting out in munitions as a boy, he somehow finds himself involved in many of the key explosions of the twentieth century and travels the world, sharing meals and more with everyone from Stalin, Churchill, and Truman to Mao, Franco, and de Gaulle. Quirky and utterly unique, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared has charmed readers across the world.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Jonasson’s laugh-out-loud debut (a bestseller in Europe) reaches the U.S. three years after its Swedish publication, in Bradbury’s pitch-perfect translation. The intricately plotted saga of Allan Karlsson begins when he escapes his retirement home on his 100th birthday by climbing out his bedroom window. After stealing a young punk’s money-filled suitcase, he embarks on a wild adventure, and through a combination of wits, luck, and circumstance, ends up on the lam from both a smalltime criminal syndicate and the police. Jonasson moves deftly through Karlsson’s life—from present to past and back again—recounting the fugitive centenarian’s career as a demolitions expert and the myriad critical junctures of history, including the Spanish Civil War and the Manhattan Project, wherein Karlsson found himself an unwitting (and often influential) participant. Historical figures like Mao’s third wife, Vice President Truman, and Stalin appear, to great comic effect. Other characters—most notably Albert Einstein’s hapless half-brother—are cleverly spun into the raucous yarn, and all help drive this gentle lampoon of procedurals and thrillers. Agent: Anna Soler-Pont, Pontas Literary. (Sept.)
The Guardian
"Scandi-crime's signature darkness is here dispelled by Allan Karlsson, the eponymous centenarian, who with unlikely sprightliness hops out of the window of his old people's home one afternoon . . . Fast-moving and relentlessly sunny . . . Like Allan, the plot is pleasingly nimble and the book's endearing charm offers a happy alternative to the more familiar Nordic noir."
People
"[A] witty caper. ***1/2"
Marie Claire
"The anti Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. . . Jonasson's lighthearted novel shows the softer side of Sweden. . . . hilarious."
The Sunday Times
"A mordantly funny and loopily freewheeling debut novel about ageing disgracefully."
The Bookseller
"Eccentric, unusual and far-fetched in the best possible way."
The Telegraph
"Imaginative, laugh-out-loud . . . a brilliant satire on the foibles of mankind."
From the Publisher
"[A] witty caper. ***1/2"—People

"[A] silly and wonderful novel. [The scenes] will just keep readers amused almost non-stop, and that's a feat few writers achieve. A great cure for the blues, especially for anyone who might feel bad about growing older."—Kirkus Reviews, Starred

"The anti Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. . . Jonasson's lighthearted novel shows the softer side of Sweden. . . . hilarious."—Marie Claire

"Scandi-crime's signature darkness is here dispelled by Allan Karlsson, the eponymous centenarian, who with unlikely sprightliness hops out of the window of his old people's home one afternoon . . . Fast-moving and relentlessly sunny . . . 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

"[A] laugh-out-loud debut . . . Historical figures like Mao's third wife, Vice President Truman, and Stalin appear, to great comic effect. Other characters-most notably Albert Einstein's hapless half-brother-are cleverly spun into the raucous yarn, and all help drive this gentle lampoon of procedurals and thrillers."—Publishers Weekly, Starred

"A mordantly funny and loopily freewheeling debut novel about ageing disgracefully."—The Sunday Times

"Eccentric, unusual and far-fetched in the best possible way."—The Bookseller

"This quirky novel is a sly, satirical look back at international relations in the 20th century through the eyes of an old man who has seen it all."—Library Journal

"Imaginative, laugh-out-loud . . . a brilliant satire on the foibles of mankind."—The Telegraph

Library Journal
Swedish author Jonasson received rave reviews in Europe for this first novel, a best seller there. But this picaresque tale with its deadpan humor is not your typical American-style blockbuster. Allan Karlsson, the centenarian who sneaks out of his nursing home, is an expert on explosives who has led an outsize life. In his travels, he has not only met just about every famous and infamous world leader but has inadvertently played a significant role in many world events. The book has been compared to both Forrest Gump and Zelig, but while this novel is not sentimental like Forrest Gump, neither is it as funny as Zelig. Chapters alternate between Allan's big adventures in the past and in the present, where he gets mixed up with a zany bunch of Swedes and a former circus elephant as they try to avoid both cops and gangsters. VERDICT This quirky novel is a sly, satirical look back at international relations in the 20th century through the eyes of an old man who has seen it all.—Leslie Patterson, Rehoboth, MA
Kirkus Reviews
A Swedish debut novel that will keep readers chuckling. Allan Karlsson has just turned 100, and the Old Folks' Home is about to give him a birthday party that he absolutely doesn't want. So he leaves out his window and high-tails it to a bus station, with no particular destination in mind. On a whim, he steals a suitcase and boards a bus. The suitcase's owner, a criminal, will do anything to get it back. This is the basis for a story that is loaded with absurdities from beginning to end--the old coot has plenty of energy for his age and an abiding love of vodka. The story goes back and forth between the current chase and his long, storied life. From childhood, he has shown talent with explosives. This knack catches the attention of many world leaders of the 20th century: Franco, Truman, Stalin, Mao and Kim Il Sung, to name a few of the people he meets. Want to blow up bridges? Allan's your man. Want much bigger explosions? Just pour him a drink. He's neither immoral nor amoral, but he is certainly detached, and he is absolutely apolitical. In the past, he insults Stalin (luckily, the translator faints), learns Russian in a gulag and walks back to Sweden from China, barely surviving execution in Iran along the way. In the present, he meets a strange and delightful collection of friends and enemies. Coincidence and absurdity are at the core of this silly and wonderful novel. Looking back, it seems there are no hilarious, roll-on-the-floor-laughing scenes. They will just keep readers amused almost nonstop, and that's a feat few writers achieve. A great cure for the blues, especially for anyone who might feel bad about growing older.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781401324643
Publisher:
Hyperion
Publication date:
09/11/2012
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
1,031
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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