Book Review: The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared – by Jonas Jonasson


The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared is such a great title, how could I NOT read that book?

Allan Karlsson lives in an old-folks-home in a small town in Sweden. On his 100th birthday, a few hours before the celebration is about to start, he climbs out of his window with just the clothes on his back and his house slippers on, and walks away.

From the perspective of the home, and the village, and soon the entire country, Allan simply disappeared. The story tells about the wild journey of the centenarian on his way to a new life, all the while covering his tracks so nobody can catch up with him. We hear about the investigation of the police into the disappearance, as they obviously suspect foul play.

Through flashbacks all the way to Allan’s birth, we get to know his entire life story. As it turns out, Allan was everywhere important events in history occurred. He was there, helping create the atom bomb. He was friends with Harry Truman and many other world leaders. As we follow Allan through his life, all the way to the moment he climbs out the window, we are learning what kind of man he is and how he ends up making that decision. The whole book is about climbing out the window.

Allan’s story is reminiscent of Forrest Gump, who also sailed through history without caring one bit about it and all the politics.

Reading The Hundred-Year-Old Man frequently had me chuckle out loud, both as the focus plot went on, and when the background life story unraveled. It is a delightful book, completely unique. It is a comedy with lots of suspense yet no real villains or bad guys.

Now I saw that a movie is coming out. I am glad I read the book first.

You should, too.

Rating - Three Stars