Hundraåringen som klev ut genom fönstret och försvann, meaning The hundred-year-old who climbed out through the window and disappeared, henceforth simply “the book”, is a fantastically funny and entertaining book.
Allan is a 100 years old and about to be the focus of attention at his birthday party at the nursing home, attended by both the local paper and a local politician. He doesn’t like the idea much, nor the nursing home, so he climbs out through his window and walks away towards the bus station. He decides to get on the first bus, no matter where it goes, and buys a ticket for “anywhere I can get for 50 kronor”. A man asks him to watch his suitcase while the man visits the restroom. But Allan’s bus arrives, so he gets on, and on a whim takes the suitcase with him. Turns out the suitcase contains 50 million ill-gotten kronor. Soon he has both the police (investigating his disappearance) and the owners of the suitcase after him.
The rest of the book intersperses Allan’s continued travels with the suitcase, and the story of his life up until now. Both are hilarious, filled with mishaps that turn into opportunities. By the end he’s helped develop the atomic bomb, drunk tequila with Truman and dined with Stalin, and in various ways affected the direction of world history. It’s all absurd, and yet somehow Jonasson hits just the right tone, because it remains fun rather than silly. So does Allan: he’s an oddball and naive in some ways, but not so that you’d think him stupid. He’s a man in my taste: pragmatic and sensible and apolitical.
Some reviewers have compared it to works by Arto Paasilinna (whom I haven’t read) and to Forrest Gump (which I can sort of agree with).
It’s a book that made me feel good. Read it and have fun!