Author: Jonas Jonasson| Genre: Humor, Fiction | Pages: 396
Allan Karlsson has turned one hundred year old and has a plan up his sleeve. But little does Allan Karlsson know of the adventures that await his climb and disappearance from his old age home in Malmköping in Sweden. What follows are the accounts of the eventful 100 years of the centenarian’s life through different parts of the world donning different hats.
Allan is the centenarian who holds you by the hand and takes you through his life of a 100 years. But that is not all. What you will experience will not much stay with you, because, well, there’s an awful lot that happens through in mere 396 pages. It is biologically impossible for the human brain to absorb it all and yet be at it even after, say a month. Or perhaps, it’s just me!
This is the epitome of absurdist humor, if there is such a thing. But as I realise with the kind of books I’ve read in the recent past, it is a genre that is fast gaining popularity and prominence. And it is good for readers like me at least, who do go seeking for a welcome change after long spells of serious, hard-hitting fiction.
So, coming back to the review of The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared.
The prose kind of stuck with me for a while, for the simplicity of the protagonist’s humble approach for life, but soon I could feel it slipping from my memory while I was still to finish a major chunk of the book. Skimming past a 100 years worth of information, there is only so much you do remember eventually. Now that isn’t what I expect or appreciate. While Allan has a rather eventful past, and an abnormally insane one at that, he still manages to get his way around people and situations, which stretches as far as being unbelievable, but you put up with it, for the writing is clever and engaging.
None of the many characters who board Allan’s ‘I don’t want to be 100’ train manage to build much credibility except of course, that they survive only so long as to serve loosely fitting roles in the patching up of Allan’s story for that scene. If you asked me to name a character other than Allan, I’d probably say Inspector Aronsson and that’s all.
I started this book, my mind blank as a slate. But no sooner had I started to fall in love with the Allan, with the side characters, I also almost started to fall out of that love. Most of what comprises toward that diminishing love are the tedious political and social labyrinths my mind has wandered along with the protagonist. The character himself is worth every bit of attention, yes, Allan is. And he is totally admirable for his intelligence and adorable for his innocence and yet the lengthy descriptions of events from Allan’s flashback got in the way of my happy reading. But the light humor did make up for my disappointment of it all.
If you happen to read ‘The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared’ or have already read it, do share your thoughts below.