Inspiration on your bookshelf: The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared…..

100yroldmanAllan Karlsson is sitting quietly in his room in an old people’s home on his 100th birthday as preparations are made for a party he hates the thought of, to be attended by a mayor he does not want to meet and reporters he doesn’t want to talk to. So he decides to take control, and climbs out of his bedroom window, into the flowerbed (in his slippers) and makes his getaway. …

The One Hundred Year-Old Man is written by Jonas Jonasson, originally in Swedish and now translated by Rod Bradbury and what a wonderful book this is; heart-warming and fun and full of joy. Allan Karlsson is the perfect hero/anti-hero as his getaway becomes increasingly surreal, involving as it does criminals, several murders, a suitcase full of cash, and endlessly incompetent detectives.

But even as we enjoy the adventures of the present day, and as Allan enjoys his new-found freedom, we learn that he is not any ordinary man. His earlier life, told in flashback, is a parade of encounters with famous people during famous times as he helps to make the atom bomb, befriends presidents and dictators and quietly influences important twentieth century events.

This isn’t just a funny novel, it is a tribute to the joy of growing old disgracefully and living every moment to the full. It is a prompt to us all to take life by the scruff of the neck and ride it, rather than allowing it to trample us underfoot; to fly, and to make the most of every opportunity presented to us, turning negatives into positives.

Have you read this book? What did you think? Is it simply a black comedy, funny escapism? Or can we learn something from Allan Karlsson and his determination not to let what is left of his life be ruled by the demands of others?

We would love to hear your views…

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