Friday, September 26, 2014

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson, Rod Bradbury (Translator)


This is the most hilarious, off-the-charts, tragicomedy-idea I have read in a long time. Probably the most outrageous bucket list in motion ever constructed as a plot. I felt a little bit psycho for sniggering where I should not. And laughing out loud made me question my own levels of emotional intelligence! But really, the book is written so bizarrely funny, I just could not help myself. Did I stop reading when I thought to rather see a shrink than continue? Of course not! The action-packed murder, suspense, thriller had me tied to the characters, of which Sonya the elephant was my favorite, like a desperate closet-masochist! It is not really a murder | Suspense | thriller, but it contains many of the elements there of.

You not only have to think outside the box here, you will have to stand outside it as well and make sure to drag a ton of salt with you. You won't make it otherwise! Everything in the book could have happened, but not with the satirical twist it was done with. Crazy, obscene, and cynically brilliant. It is more or less a hundred years of world history summarized in one aged old man's life story. Just imagine if it all could have been true! Indeed, an unusual rendition of the question 'what if'! 

The book reminds me so much about the Broadway black comedy play, which became a successful motion picture "The Little Horror Shop". In the one scene a masochist is waiting in the dentist's office for his turn, when the sadistic dentist comes out with a huge bore machine yelling "who wants to have a slow...painful...bridge!" The little masochist excitedly jumped up and down on his chair, pleading "Me!....Do Me!....oh please do me!" - or something like that. And the audience fell down laughing, including yours truly, scared into anaphylactic shock!

Yes, as someone commented elsewhere, it can be Forest Gump on steroids, and in my humble opinion, it would have taken a few truck loads of the stuff for Forest to become Alan Emmanuel Karlsson.

It is the same idea as "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" Yes, very much the same, come to think of it! Only this time the bus accommodates the one-hundred-year-old Alan Emmanuel Karlsson, who decided to elope from the old-age home in his Swedish town, and his cronies, whom he met on his new adventure: Julius Johnsson(67), eternal student Benny Ljungberg, the red-haired Gunilla Björkund, newly-religious food-wholesaler Bosse(Benny's brother), gangster-boss Per-Gunmar Gerdin, Sonya the elephant and the Alsation dog, Buster. In hot pursuit was Chief Inspector Göran Aronsson, the police dog Kicki, and prosecutor Ranelid. 

This is social commentary at its most bizarre, which makes it even more hilarious. Hilarious in the sense of plot and the execution there of. The two parallel stories, told in alternating chapters, both revert the ordinary into the extraordinary in consistent high drama. Most of this book can be offered as stand-up comedy and it will raise the roof of the venue with hysterical laughter. But, you must have a healthy sense of humor to appreciate it. 

In the end, I walked away with a smile and will forever do so when I see this book on my shelves. It made me laugh at the world. For today it is okay. Tomorrow is another day.

But right now the world is a much better place because this story made me laugh for everything that is wrong with our human existence. Just for once.

Kudos to Bobby McFerrin's song: Don't worry, be happy!


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. Already a huge bestseller across Europe, The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared is a fun and feel-good book for all ages.


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