Author: Jonas Jonasson
“It all starts on the one-hundredth birthday of Allan Karlsson. Sitting quietly in his room in an old people’s home, he is waiting for the party he-never-wanted-anyway to begin. The Mayor is going to be there. The press is going to be there. But, as it turns out, Allan is not… Slowly but surely Allan climbs out of his bedroom window, into the flowerbed (in his slippers) and makes his getaway. And so begins his picaresque and unlikely journey involving criminals, several murders, a suitcase full of cash, and incompetent police. As his escapades unfold, we learn something of Allan’s earlier life in which – remarkably – he helped to make the atom bomb, became friends with American presidents, Russian tyrants, and Chinese leaders, and was a participant behind the scenes in many key events of the twentieth century”
It’s rare that I call a book whimsical. But that’s honestly the only way I can describe The 100 Year Old Man. It’s a book that’s kooky, playful and strange all at the same time.
The book was written in a type of back and forth nature between different time periods of Allan’s, the main character’s life. It would switch between Allan’s present day shenanigans and the shenanigans he managed to get up to during his lifetime. Allan was a fantastic character in the most literal sense of the word. Thinking back, he would definitely be a chaotic neutral based on one of those meme charts. He did nothing but lived his life, nothing fazed him, but somehow he managed to change the course of history.
I enjoyed how the time switches gave background into Allan’s personality. At 100 years old I could understand if he didn’t have any fucks left to give, but apparently, he had been like that his whole life. Something else that I enjoyed was that the characters that Allan interacted with were given just enough attention to hash out their personalities and motives, and not distract from Allan and his journey.
The fact that this book was somewhat a historical fiction was nice too. I learned a decent amount about WWII and communist relations in the 20th century. The 100-year-old Man was paced very well, despite having to several small stories spanning a 100 year period.
The 100 year Old Man was genuinely funny. Not burst out in laughter funny, but I smiled a lot while I read. It was such an engaging book that I found myself planning my day around reading the next chapter. When I finished I was both sad and happy. Happy because it was a good ending to a good book and sad because now a really good book was over and done with.
I hope that back in Sweden this is a movie or is set to become a movie because it would be a riot on screen. Would recommend!