Jonas Jonasson: The Hundred Year Old… you know the rest
I must admit I was taken in by the title and cover, in the window of a book shop as I walked home. I am always impressed with a creative cover, but also the title did exactly what the first line of any novel should – it took me in and left me wanting to know what happens next.
“You might think he could have made up his mind earlier, and been man enough to tell the others of his decision. But Allan Karlson had never been given to pondering things too long.”
The events that follow the centenerian, Allan, escaping from the Malmkoping Old People’s Home are nothing short of ridiculous, and yet so believable within the plot. You are taken through events that could only happen in someone’s imagination, with all the threads meeting at various points, with hilarious consequences. The humour throughout is subtle and yet makes you laugh out loud – these are not full on ‘jokes’, rather comments made which in the context often made me laugh out loud (a trait which in other people I would normally scoff at).
The novel, which turns out to be extracts from a blog written in the ‘present time’, looks back on Allan’s extraordinary life and weaves his personal story with that of the world wars and subsequent events. I love that I actually found myself learning new things through this novel, as it went into detail about world events surrounding Korea, the Soviets and China following WW2. Again, every story is told with such humour and well drawn out characters that I couldn’t help but keep reading.
This is one of those books that I looked forward to opening every day. I even perfected the art of walking to work while reading! I’ve missed three Archers omnibuses as a result of my addiction to this book, which if you know me is quite a big deal…
I would recommend this to anyone looking to lose themselves in an intelligent and funny story about the past, the present and the future.
Books on the Underground
I’ll be leaving this book on the London underground this week, so that other Londoners can enjoy it as much as I did! If you haven’t heard of Books on the Underground, you can read my blog about it here, or follow @BooksUndergrnd on Twitter.