Summary and book reviews of The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

By Jonas Jonasson

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
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  • Paperback: Sep 2012,
    400 pages.

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Book Reviewed by:
Elizabeth Whitmore Funk

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Book Summary

The international publishing sensation--over two million copies sold

A reluctant centenarian much like Forrest Gump (if Gump were an explosives expert with a fondness for vodka) decides it’s not too late to start over...

After a long and eventful life, Allan Karlsson ends up in a nursing home, believing it to be his last stop. The only problem is that he's still in good health, and in one day, he turns 100. A big celebration is in the works, but Allan really isn't interested (and he'd like a bit more control over his vodka consumption). So he decides to escape. He climbs out the window in his slippers and embarks on a hilarious and entirely unexpected journey, involving, among other surprises, a suitcase stuffed with cash, some unpleasant criminals, a friendly hot-dog stand operator, and an elephant (not to mention a death by elephant).

It would be the adventure of a lifetime for anyone else, but Allan has a larger-than-life backstory: Not only has he witnessed some of the most important events of the twentieth century, but he has actually played a key role in them. Starting out in munitions as a boy, he somehow finds himself involved in many of the key explosions of the twentieth century and travels the world, sharing meals and more with everyone from Stalin, Churchill, and Truman to Mao, Franco, and de Gaulle. Quirky and utterly unique, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared has charmed readers across the world.

Chapter 1
MONDAY, MAY 2, 2005

You might think he could have made up his mind earlier, and been man enough to inform his surroundings of his decision. But Allan Karlsson had never been given to pondering things too long.

So the idea had barely taken hold in the old man’s head before he opened the window of his room on the ground floor of the Old Folk’s Home in the town of Malmköping, and stepped out – into the flower bed.

This maneuver required a bit of effort, since Allan was 100 years old, on this very day in fact. There was less than an hour to go before his birthday party would begin in the lounge of the Old Folk’s Home. The mayor would be there. And the local paper. And all the other old people. And the entire staff, led by bad tempered Director Alice.

It was only the Birthday Boy himself who didn’t intend to turn up.

Chapter 2
MONDAY, MAY 2, 2005

Allan Karlsson hesitated as he stood there in the flower bed that ran along one side of ...

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Reviews

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Allan Karlsson is a role model for those who fear sinking into disuse and decrepitude, and the novel's value is in exploring old age as a time that is as lively and colorful as youth.   (Reviewed by Elizabeth Whitmore Funk).

Full Review Members Only (869 words).

Media Reviews
Publisher's Weekly

Starred Review. Historical figures like Mao's third wife, Vice President Truman, and Stalin appear, to great comic effect. ... and all help drive this gentle lampoon of procedurals and thrillers.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. A great cure for the blues, especially for anyone who might feel bad about growing older.

The Savvy Reader

If you love history you’ll love all the real historical figures that make an appearance. If you love action, you’ll love how each situation seems to escalate and how quickly the plot moves from mishap to mishap, country to country.

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Centenarians' Birthday Celebrations Around the World

While many of us assume that the key to a long life is health and happiness, recent studies from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine suggest that reaching the 100-year mark is a complex blend of genetics, environment, optimism, and emotional wellbeing. Given that recent U.S. census data shows that centenarians make up approximately 0.2 percent of the American population (and in Japan it's even higher, though not without some controversy), it's undeniable that centenarians are becoming only more numerous in countries that have long life expectancies.

Despite increasing longevity, many countries still formally honor a 100th birthday. In the U.K., centenarians receive a telegram from the Queen on a 100th and 105th birthday, as well as ...

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