Another excellent reason to live to one hundred

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and DisappearedThe Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Gloriously absurd and implausible, with a charmingly diffident hero who manages to bumble through the twentieth century, from one major world event to the next, leaving political turmoil and outbreaks of peace in his wake. Now he has climbed out of the window of his residential home to avoid his own hundredth birthday party, and bumbles instead into an adventure involving a suitcase, an international criminal gang, a redhead, a yellow bus, an elephant and an increasingly frantic state prosecutor.

It has the same delightful, dry, straight-faced narrative voice – lightly seasoned with irony but with not a shred of sarcasm – of the best children’s literature (A.A. Milne comes to mind). Everyone, or at least everyone who matters, is going to live happily ever after, says the narrator’s tone (a phrase which will never quite mean the same to me again!), but we’re all going to have some thumping good adventures along the way. And so we do.

To be read when you’re in need of a laugh or when you need to believe in a truth that is as strange as fiction. Or indeed at any other time. Superb.

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