The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

The 100_Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, by Jonas Jonasson, is an enjoyable book, quite different from other things I have read. The author alternates between the current circumstances of Allan, the man who climbed out the window of his retirement home for another adventure, and the highlights of his 100 year life. And what a life he has led! He has met Franco, Truman, Mao, Stalin, Churchill, Nixon and a host of others.

Allan is an apolitical person, but his prowess as an explosives expert and his pleasant personality result in one thing leading to another on multiple occasions. He is currently “on the lamb” with a group of unusual characters, who are not entirely savoury, but whom I found myself liking anyway.

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Here is a taste from the first chapter…

You might think he could have made up his mind earlier and been man enough to inform his surroundings of his decision. But Allan Karlsson had never given to pondering things too long.

So the idea had barely taken hold in the old man’s head before he opened the window of his room on the ground floor of the Old Folks’ Home in the town of Malmköping , and stepped out – into the flower bed.

This maneuver required a bit of effort since Allan was on hundred years old, on this very day in fact. There was less than an hour to go before his birthday Party would begin in the lounge of the Old Folks’ Home. The mayor would be there. And the local paper. And all the other old people. And the entire staff, led by bad-tempered Director Alice.

It was only the Birthday Boy himself who didn’t intend to turn up.

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