Clever, humorously written, and lighthearted to read. BUT… only awarded three stars on Goodreads.
Allan Karlsson is a Swedish centenarian who, like Forrest Gump, seems to always be in the right place at the right time when it comes to important historical events.
The book tells two stories about him. One is the adventure he has when he skips out of the nursing home celebration of his 100th birthday. That one involves a stolen suitcase, gangsters, mistaken identities, and a bumbled police pursuit.
The second story is the story of Karlsson’s life which includes some time institutionalized, a stint at Los Alamos when the first atomic bomb was being build, and periodic meet-ups with a host of important global figures from the 20th century. I won’t list them so I don’t spoil any surprises but Karlsson turns out to be a key historical figure himself.
As for my reaction to the book– I completely enjoyed the first third, maybe even half. But after a while I felt like I was in the middle of someone telling a joke that goes on for too long. To put it another way, I think this book is about 100 pages too long to support both its humor and premise. Let me know if you feel differently.
*Book translated by Rod Bradbury.
More about Author Jonas Jonasson.