BOOK REVIEW: The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared – by Jonas Jonasson


Title: The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared
Author: Jonas Jonasson
Genre: Fiction, Humor, Contemporary
First published: 2009
Finished reading: January 25th 2015
Pages: 396
(Originally written in Swedish: ‘Hundraåringen som klev ut genom fönstret och försvann’)
Rating 5

“There are only two things I can do better than most people. One of them is to make vodka from goats’ milk, and the other is to put together an atom bomb.”


The first time I saw this book mentioned, I was immediately intrigued by both the cover, title and blurb. I remember adding The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared to my wishlist straight away and wanting to buy a copy as soon as possible. But even though I was able to get a copy not long after that, I somehow never came around actually reading this novel by Jonas Jonasson… Until now. Now that I’ve finished it, I can easily say this one will end up being of my favorite reads in 2015. I loved everything; the main character, the humor and prose, the altered historical references… The novel takes you on a journey through Allan Karlsson’s long and VERY interesting life where he played a role in various key moments in the history of the 20th century. Not only that: on his one-hundredth birthday he manages to escape the old people’s home and find a suitcase full of money before he disappears. How awesome is that?! There are a lot of funny moments in the novel that will definitely make you laugh. And Allan is a genius. Definitely recommended!


Allan Karlsson just reached his one-hundredth birthday, but he isn’t about to give up living and end his days in an old people’s home. Allan decides to escape his fate and climbs out of his bedroom window. Without knowing where to go, he ends up at the bus station. Just as he is about to take the first bus out of town, he decides to steal a suitcase that was left in his care by the only other passenger there. An unlikely journey starts where the old man is trying to escape the angry passenger, meeting a lot of interesting people on the way. The fact that the suitcase holds a lot of money does help…

We follow Allan and his new companies when they try to escape and hide from both the police and the owners of the suitcase. And not everybody comes away unhurt… We also learn more and more about Allan’s earlier life; a very interesting journey where he meets various important political leaders like Franco, Truman, Stalin and Mao. Allan doesn’t like politics and that is partly why he was able to survive for so long… That and the fact that he turns out to be an explosive expert and the different political leaders need his help. This way, he played a role in many key events of the 20th century.


People seem to either hate or love this book. I guess it depends on how you decide to read The One-Hundred-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared. If you are easily offended by certain historical facts being altered or don’t like comedy, don’t pick up this title. I think Jonas Jonasson ment this book as an entertaining and feel-good book where the actual facts of Allan Karlsson’s life aren’t supposed to be credible. It is ment as a fiction novel, so who cares if Allan really met all those presidents or if an elephant really can fit into a big yellow bus? The fast pace and easy-to-read prose just make you want to keep on reading… You won’t regret picking up this title!

20 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared – by Jonas Jonasson

  1. I loved this book, but I loved his second novel, “The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden”, even more. I think the humour is sharper in the second novel, but also he’s become a little better at developing his characters (although many of them are still completely crazy). The funny thing is, the King in it is based on the actual King of Sweden and the Prime Minister is based on a guy who was the PM for a long time until last year actually, but both characters I think he got pretty spot on having seen both in the media here in Sweden over the last year.
    Anyway, if you liked this, definitely read his other novel. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on that too! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden high on my wishlist! I’m trying not to buy any books right now because I have too many on my TBR already, but this will probably one of the first books I get when I decide to buy again. I loved his first novel, so it’s good to know that the second one is even better.


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  4. I never actually thought about people being irritated by the implausibility of some of the happenings in this novel. I guess you do kind of have to suspend disbelief and go with it. But if you can do that, what a treat this book is! I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve seen quite a few people complain about credibility in reviews, I guess it depends on how you decide to read it. I didn’t have any problems myself and loved his first novel; I will be reading his second one as well as soon as I get my hands on a copy.


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