Review: The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
Jonas Jonasson
Toronto: Harper Collins, 2016
Mass Paperback, 513 pages



After a long and eventful life, Allan Karlsson ends up in a nursing home, believing it to be his last stop. On the 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 alcohol consumption, thank you). So he decides to escape. He climbs out the window in his slippers and embarks on a  hilarious and entirely unexpected journey. 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, he has actually played a key role in them. Quirky and utterly unique, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared has charmed readers across the world.



Incompetent gang members, numerous American presidents, world leaders, wars, prisons, desert adventures, and endless nights of drinking vodka – that seems to be a very simple breakdown of Allan Karlsson’s life. The novel goes back and forth between what happens to Allan after he climbed out the window and his life story – which is over-the-top and larger-than-life. And despite knowing that it’s fictional, there is something realistic and grounded enough in it that makes you believe that a story like this could actually be true. Perhaps it is in the wonderfully quirky ways that Jonasson integrates real world events into the story. From partaking in the atomic bomb in World War II to the Korean War to the Watergate scandal, the novel’s protagonist has seen it all and even played a part in it.


It got to the point where some little parts of the story confused me because I was no longer sure where fiction reigned and not the facts. For example, I learned that Albert Einstein had a sister – but did not have a brother – despite the character of Herbert Einstein, supposedly Albert’s half-brother. I’ll admit that I actually Googled the Einstein family tree to check on this.

The novel is funny, interesting, quirky, believably unbelievably with historical and significant world events scattered throughout it as the backdrop. Highly recommending this to everyone!


Note to readers:

I’ve decided to not include my ratings on my blog. Just my review and perhaps a note of whether the book is worth recommending, like I did here. If you are interested in ratings, I will have those on my Goodreads page. Link in the top right of the sidebar!


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