“The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared”, by Jonas Jonasson, may have a rather complicated title, but it is not a complicated novel. The story follows Allan Karlsson, who is – you guessed it – a hundred year old man who escapes from his centennial birthday party via a window. We then follow his story as he finds himself involved with thieves, incompetent police, a suitcase filled with cash and a series of murders, some of which are more accidental than others. Along side the tale we learn that Karlsson had spent his earlier life involved with some of the 20th century’s most significant people and important events – everything from the creation of the atom bomb, to having dinner with Stalin himself.
I have heard many novels and films described as “charming” but I’ve never strictly understood its true meaning. Jonasson’s debut novel, however, can only be described as such. An endless stream of witty dialogue and engaging an engaging story keeps you entertained from cover to cover. There are moments where it gets so funny you may find yourself laughing enough to make an elderly woman come and ask if you are okay (I may or may not be speaking from experience).
It isn’t a novel that you will regret.