This is a book about a centenarian named Allan Karlsson who escapes the old folks home on his birthday, while awaiting a visit from the mayor, and his ensuing escapade. While the turn of present events stretch credulity as the police search for the man, who accidentally comes into possession of a suitcase containing fifty million crowns belonging to a criminal gang, the escapee’s past reveals his hapless contributions to pivotal moments in political history on a global scale. Some of the funniest moments in the book include interactions with Harry Truman, General Franco, Mao Tse Tsung, De Gaulle, Stalin and Tage Erlander. The politics in The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared is narrated in the most entertaining way so even those apathetic to politics and history can find humour in it.
I think giving away more plot would spoil this book written by Swedish author, Jonas Jonasson. It has since sold more than eight million copies worldwide, been made into a movie in the European cinematic world and Hollywood is negotiating remake rights. While the caricature of the characters tend to border on the absurd, I suggest giving this a go as it can be fairly informative regarding key moments in the twentieth century. However I would suggest that the information is taken with a grain of salt. Imagine it as if it were a picaresque adventure story interrupted in its narrative thread by appearances from influential world leaders and defining world moments such as the creation of the Atom Bomb, the attempted assassination of Winston Churchill and the lead up to the Watergate scandal. This is the kind of book which can make you laugh out loud while reading. I’m no stranger to crying while reading but laughing is new for me.
In terms of books similar to this, I don’t think I’ve read many. However reviews on Amazon and Goodreads compare The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared to novels written by serialist Tom Sharpe, a British satirist. What makes this novel stand out is the age of the protagonist, how he does not fit the stereotype of an elderly citizen and the charming humour.