The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed out of The Window and Disappeared

The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed out of The Window and Disappeared

Allan Karlsson is a resident at Malmköping’s Old People’s Home quietly sitting in his room awaiting his one-hundredth birthday party to begin, where the press and Mayor will be present; the only problem is that he doesn’t want to go. So, donned in his slippers, Allan takes the opportunity to escape through his bedroom window, into the flowerbed and towards Malmköping’s bus station where a very unexpected journey across Sweden is about to begin...


This novel is every inch as quirky as its title as it tells of Allan’s life, the past and the present. Just before his one-hundredth birthday celebrations is about to begin, Allan decides to make his getaway through his bedroom window in a bid to avoid all the attention. When he arrives at Malmköping’s bus station, he is asked to keep an eye on a young man’s suitcase (unbeknown to Allan, the young man is a member of the dangerous Never Again criminal gang). Deciding that he doesn’t like the young man anyway, he steals the suitcase with the hope that its contents will assist him on his journey which at the time is determined by bus number 202’s destination.


In the chapters which follow we learn of Allan’s adventure across Sweden as he befriends some unlikely allies, including a master thief who lives in isolation, a hot dog vendor, a hot-headed, red-haired woman, an elephant called Sonya and a dog named Buster. With a journey which invents itself as they go along, the group are soon on the run from the dangerous Never Again criminal gang who are after the $50million Swedish Crowns in the stolen suitcase, as well as the police as their worry for Allan’s safety grows (after all, how often does a centenarian randomly run away unexpectedly?!)


As the story develops we learn of Allan’s past life as an explosives expert and his meetings with various world leaders, as well as his ability to get himself out of difficult situations. We are told the story of his involvement throughout various moments in history including creating the Atom Bomb and preventing Winston Churchill from being assassinated, escaping from a labour camp in Vladivostok, insulting Stalin and his involvement in the Vietnam War; meanwhile ensuring he got his regular dose of vodka.


This novel is a marvellous balance between true events in history and fantastic fiction and is every inch worthy of its ‘bestseller’ status. It is a great testimonial to the achievements and moments in a person’s life (but not just any person, mind you). Allan Karlsson is one of those characters which you wish you’d met in real life (and shared a vodka with), his ability to charm world presidents and prime ministers alike is an interesting read as the question of what now(?) is posed when the gang members and police eventually catch up with them...

By Amber Gunn


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