The 100-year-old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

The 100-year-old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

Book - 2012 | 1st ed.
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A larger-than-life old man with a fondness for vodka goes on an unexpected adventure in this whimsical novel -- perfect for fans of Forrest Gump and A Man Called Ove .
The international publishing sensation -- more than six million copies sold worldwide!
A reluctant centenarian much like Forrest Gump (if Gump were an explosives expert) decides it's not too late to start over . . .
After a long and eventful life, Allan Karlsson ends up in a nursing home, believing it to be his last stop. The only problem is that he's still in good health, and in one day, he turns 100. A big celebration is in the works, but Allan really isn't interested (and he'd like a bit more control over his vodka consumption). So he decides to escape. He climbs out the window in his slippers and embarks on a hilarious and entirely unexpected journey, involving, among other surprises, a suitcase stuffed with cash, some unpleasant criminals, a friendly hot-dog stand operator, and an elephant (not to mention a death by elephant).
It would be the adventure of a lifetime for anyone else, but Allan has a larger-than-life backstory: Not only has he witnessed some of the most important events of the twentieth century, but he has actually played a key role in them. Starting out in munitions as a boy, he somehow finds himself involved in many of the key explosions of the twentieth century and travels the world, sharing meals and more with everyone from Stalin, Churchill, and Truman to Mao, Franco, and de Gaulle. Quirky and utterly unique, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared has charmed readers across the world.
Publisher: New York : Hyperion, 2012.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9781401324643
Characteristics: 384 p. ; 21 cm.
Additional Contributors: Bradbury, Rod


From Library Staff

This delightful, fast-paced book takes the reader on a journey through time and across the world in a plot that is full of surprises and endearing characters.

-- Andrea G., Central Library - OneNorth Technology Center // AndreaG_KCMO

KaiteS_KCMO Nov 30, 2016

That wry goofball Scandinavian humor is great for book groups! The movie didn't capture the tone well, but give it a go anyway and talk about differences between film and books.

From the critics

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Jul 19, 2020

Reminds me of a mix between Hendrik Groen and Forrest Gump. It did take awhile for me to get into this read but I ended up liking it. You can’t help but fall in love with the adorable protagonist Allan, a Swedish man who sneaks out of his retirement home right before his 100 year old birthday party begins. Allan escapes to a train station where he accidentally steals 50 million euros and heads off to accidentally meet another criminal. It just gets stranger and stranger from there with hot dog stand vendors, elephants, and accidental murders. The reader also gets a look into Allan’s past where he has an insane history of creating explosives for some of the rulers around the world in China, America, and Russia. This was a very fun read but it does take awhile to get into.

FPL_SheriS Jan 22, 2020

This book is irreverent, laugh out loud, mouth drop open entertainment. Historical fiction, if you could choose your own adventure, and what if those crazy relatives had to fend for themselves all wrapped into one. The story is unexpected at every turn and does not take itself seriously.

Sep 28, 2019

Allan Karlsson is 100 years old. Instead of joining the fun at his birthday party, he escapes through an open window and begins a spontaneous (and highly unrealistic) grand adventure which reads a lot like Winston Groom's 1986 Forrest Gump novel. Just like Forrest's story, much of this book is told as flashbacks where simple-minded Allan casually tromps through major historical events. Jonasson's easy-to-read writing is both light and dryly humorous; however, I don't think that I laughed even once while reading the book. In 2013, this book was developed into an R-rated Oscar-nominated movie which I have absolutely zero desire to watch.

Tigard_AnnmarieA Aug 28, 2019

Sly, satirical and humorous story of a centenarian Swede, Alan, who escapes his nursing home and goes on walkabout to a bus station, where on a whim he steals a rude man's suitcase and sets out on a bus trip to parts unknown. But the man, a criminal, pursues. Many hijinks ensue, along with flashbacks to Alan's adventurous life.

Aug 26, 2019

Tea & Talk Book Club / December 2015

Aug 20, 2019

I read this for the "Set in a Country You've Visited" part of my 2019 reading challenge. Overall I didn't love it, a few parts made me laugh out loud but I thought it was dumb in general. The last half was easier to read once you get into the flow of the writing style, the first part felt too patchy.

Aug 09, 2019

I really enjoyed this book. When I initially started reading, I was intrigued by the unique style of writing. It's definitely not what you would expect: it's a wild ride from start to finish. Kind of Forest Gump meets Swedish noir during the arms race. It is a relatively easy read, though I think it's suitable for more mature audiences. It's one of those happy, feel-good books and it's a perfect read if you're feeling down or are in need of a laugh.

Jun 29, 2019

An amusing yarn of a man who, in his earlier years, might have been Harry Flashman, Junior (although somewhat more feckless than the George MacDonald Fraser character). In his old age, his improbable Flashman-like ventures continue.

May 28, 2019

Humorous with that wry Swedish touch. The story draws you in and the alternating chapters on Alan's life are woven together well and seamlessly. A thoroughly enjoyable read. Highly recommend.

Apr 11, 2019

Funny if not a bit hard to swallow. Just go along for the ride!

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Aug 22, 2015

lipglossgirl thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Jul 13, 2014

berkhaz2 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Mar 16, 2014

Lucchesa thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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Aug 22, 2015

Never try to outdrink a Swede, unless you happen to be a Finn or at least a Russian.

Jun 26, 2015

Well, that went well.


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Aug 22, 2015

Other: This book contains quite a lot of drinking.


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