Tuesday, March 19, 2013

100 Year Old Man

Allan Karlsson is the 100 year old man who escapes from an old age home the day they are about to celebrate his birthday. He embarks on a new adventure that involves an elephant, gansters, a suitcase full of money and a bible misprinted with a new subversive ending, "and they all lived happily ever after."  Which Allan and his new group of friends most certainly do.

The modern day adventure is interspersed with highlights of Allan's well-lived and influential life. He's changed the course of history by giving Oppenheimer the secret to nuclear fusion while serving coffee. Indiscriminate, he's also helped Stalin, Mao Tse Tung and Chian Kai-shek. Gotten drunk with Truman. Given tips to Nixon. Apolitical, he truly couldn't care less about ideology, for him it is more about chasing after a good glass (or two) of strong vodka.

Jonas has dedicated the book to his grandfather:
No one was better at captivating an audience than Grandpa, when he sat on his favorite bench telling stories, leanin on his walking stick and chewing tobacco.

"But Grandpa... Is that really true? we granchildren would ask, wide-eyed.

"Those who only says what is the truth, they're not worth listening to," Grandpa replied.

This book is dedicated to him.

You don't have to be a history buff to appreciate this quirky take on the improbable events in The 100 Year Old Mam Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. But it is fun to think that one person could wreak such havoc in just one hundred years.

The English rights were among the last sold, so North America has been lagging behind with this international hit. First published in Jonasson's native Sweden, the novel has gone on to win acclaim across Europe.

Shortly after I started reading it, I walked onto the bus, and there was someone else with their nose buried behind the bright orange cover. She was only ten pages in but already loving it, based on a recommendation of her friend.

Thanks to Annika for picking such a fun choice for the BPYC Book Club.  In honour of the book she shared some Swedish snacks and libations, including Absolut Vodka Recorderlig (Swedish elderflower and pear cider),  Xante (Swedish pear liqueur), Mackmyra (Swedish whisky),  and Flaggpunsch (Swedish liqueur traditionally enjoyed with pea soup).

We also had a mini-birthday cake.  In honour of Allan Karlsson's birthday, of course!

No comments: