Okay, this is one of the funniest books I’ve read in a long time. After talking to a coworker about how much I enjoyed A Man Called Ove, she recommended The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, by Jonas Jonasson. Much like A Man Called Ove, The 100-Year-Old Man was translated from Swedish. Both books are about old men getting in over their heads. And they’re both absolutely hilarious.
The 100-Year-Old Man is about Allan Karlsson, a retired explosives expert who decides he doesn’t want to show up to his 100th birthday party after all, and unceremoniously escapes from the old folks’ home. On his travels, he runs into a suitcase full of money and joins up with a 70-year-old kleptomaniac, a hot dog vendor who knows everything, a redheaded woman with a penchant for swearing, and her pet elephant Sonja. Meanwhile, the police are trying to find Karlsson and following a string of mysterious disappearances around him.
In the background, there are flashbacks to Karlsson’s eventful life. Completely on accident, Karlsson blew up his neighbor, created an atom bomb, became a research subject, personally befriended several Presidents, saved Mao Zedong’s wife, laughed in Stalin’s face, escaped a gulag with Einstein’s idiot brother, and served in the CIA. All of this without ever having any political opinions at all.
This is a cute story with hilarious writing and lovable characters. It’s remarkably in-depth, as far as historical fiction goes, and it will give geriatrics everywhere hope that their life is only just beginning. The language might make it unsuitable for children—but everyone else should read it as soon as possible. ♥