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The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared: 01/20/15

cover artDuring the 2014 D Day celebrations, the news story that most people were talking about was that of an 89 year old pensioner who had gone missing from his retirement home only to show up in Normandy to partake in the events. Thankfully he didn't get into any trouble or go on any sort of murder spree.

I bring him up because his escapade is very similar to the opening chapter of The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. Allan Karlsson decides he's had enough of living in his retirement home and decides to make a break for it, minutes before the start of this hundredth birthday celebration.

But Allan can't just go on his own. He decides to swipe the suitcase of a local criminal. That is the first and least heinous of Allan's crimes. Along the way he picks up a few likeminded compatriots � all of whom share in Allan's new found fortune and uncanny knack for violent crime.

Now if this book took place solely in the present, with Allan as a centenarian, I would be singing its praises. It doesn't. Instead it gets bogged down in Allan's remarkable backstory, one in which Allan ends up meeting everyone important from each big event of the twentieth century. Allan's backstory is LONG, improbable, and boring as all get out. It's clearly padding for a story that would have otherwise been a delightfully Edward Gorey-esque novella.



Two stars

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