Reviews for 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
Booklist Reviews 2012 September #2
Desperate to avoid his 100th birthday party, Allan Karlsson climbs out the window of his room at the nursing home and heads to the nearest bus station, intending to travel as far as his pocket money will take him. But a spur-of-the-moment decision to steal a suitcase from a fellow passenger sends Allan on a strange and unforeseen journey involving, among other things, some nasty criminals, a very large pile of cash, and an elephant named Sonya. It's just another chapter in a life full of adventures for Allan, who has become entangled in the major events of the twentieth century, including the Spanish Civil War and the Manhattan Project. As Allan's colorful and complex history merges with his present-day escapades, readers will be treated to a new and charmingly funny version of world history and get to know a very youthful old man whose global influence knows no age limit. An international best-seller, this is an engaging tale of one man's life lived to the fullest. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2012 August #2
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. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Library Journal Reviews 2012 September #1
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 (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 July #3
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.) [Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC