The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared
by Jonas Jonasson (translated by Rod Bradbury)
If you like Forrest Gump, then you will definitely enjoy this book.
The Hundred-Year-Old Man is full of unlikely adventures and escapades of Allan Karlsson, a Swedish dynamite expert. The novel opens up with Allan's one hundredth birthday. As the whole Old People's Home is expecting the mayor to join the celebrations, the birthday boy decides he's had enough, climbs out of the window and sets off on his final adventure in life.
Allan's adventure is full of cash, criminals, murders, incompetent police, unlikely friends and, of course, and elephant. As his journey progresses, we are introduced to Allan's past - he was friends with American presidents, Chinese and Soviet leaders; he helped create an atomic bomb and was part in many important events of the twentieth century, just like Forrest Gump.
I liked it: it is tongue-in-cheek novel and full of quirky humour. The style of writing is so light-hearted and laid back that you can imagine Allan telling the story himself sitting on a veranda with his cup of coffee (or glass of vodka!). Kudos to the translator.
"Never try to out drink a Swede, unless you happen to be a Finn or at least a Russian."