Friday, January 22, 2016

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

by Veronica Rigobon

This novella was a light and interesting read. It recalls the events of Allan Karlsson's life, a Swedish man with a talent at creating bombs and a hatred for politics. Although the novel is packed with intense stories and lots of detail, the author's language weaves it into an incredible tale. Born in 1907, Allan lives through the events of the 20th century, unwittingly playing a part in most of them. From making of the atomic bomb with Harry S. Truman to meeting Franco and Mao, Allan lives through random yet amazing events. Kidnapped and far away from his home for years, Allan is a cunning and friendly character who escapes death almost every other chapter.

I recommend this book to people who know a good amount of 20th century history, because it makes the novel funnier and allows you to understand the main character more thoroughly. Written in a realistic sense, Allan's absurd life seems normal while the reader is aware and amused of how implausible yet possible it could be. I find the contradiction amusing and different, adding to the novel as a whole. Also, people who enjoy a storytelling type novel, as the main themes are simple. 

Even though the book is not deep, the idea of openness, friendliness and lack of judgement is critical to the book. Throughout his adventures Allan survives because of his ability to make friends with everyone and disregard their negative actions. Although it could lead to moral issues, as the bad or criminal decisions a person makes shapes their character, the author portrays the happiness it can bring. Allan's ability to see everyone the same, regardless of who they are makes him enjoy life and adventure far.

I gave this book a 4 star rating because the novel is amusing but it lacks depth and meaning that many people desire when reading. The novel is interesting and unique from any other book I have ever read.

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