I feel as though the title of this book perfectly represents my thoughts about the book itself: incredibly long-winded. When I first picked up this book, I actually had quite high hopes that it would be a funny and entertaining read. It’s an ‘international bestselling sensation’ after all. The only way that I can describe this book is that it is bursting with unbelievable and completely non-sensical events. It reminds me of Forest Gump almost, except that I actually like Forest Gump.
Allan Karlsson is turning one hundred years old and the care home he lives in is throwing him a birthday party. But, unbeknown to them, Allan won’t be attending. Instead, he’s climbing out the window and leaving a trial of chaos behind him; a stolen suitcase full of money, a triple-murder, an elephant and plenty of vodka.
As Allan’s journey unfolds, so does his life story. Half the world leaders from 1920 onwards, atomic bombs, secret missions, dynamite, Albert Einstein’s less intelligent brother, communists and, of course, vodka. Allan’s life is saturated with near death experiences, continually and miraculously saved by his complete aversion to politics.
I found this book quite difficult to get through. For the first time in a long while, I had to force myself to finish a book. It was so repetitive, in what I assume was an attempt to be a little humorous, but it eventually just grated on me and I had to drag myself through every single page. Perhaps some things were lost in translation, perhaps it just wasn’t my cup of tea and perhaps the numerous typos didn’t help, either.
“Anyhow, he ordered Bucket out into the field, because the Boss thought that the idiot Bucket was still quite as big as an idiot as idiot Caracus. The idiot Bucket would thus have a greater chance of finding an idiot Bolt, and perhaps even the suitcase with the money.”
Despite my overall disappointment with the book, here are a few quotes I may have found a little funny, so as to not leave this review on an entirely sour note:
“Allan got out several sticks of dynamite and set about a familiar task before packing his bike trailer with the few valuables he owned. At dusk on 3rd June 1929, he took off. The dynamite exploded as it was meant to exactly thirty minutes later. The little house was blown to bits and the neighbour’s cow had another miscarriage.”
“The solution was first to tidy up the assistant as best they could, then let him go, but only so that he could immediately be run over by a truck, which then disappeared from the scene. That is how you avoid diplomatic crisis, the police chief reasoned, pleased with himself.”
“So it came about that the typesetter with the shattered nerves made a little addition to the very last verse in the very last chapter in the Swedish Bible that was just about to be printed. The typesetter didn’t remember much of his father’s tongue, but he could at least recall a fairy tale that was well suited in the context. Thus the Bible’s last two verses plus the typesetter’s extra verse were printed as:
20. He who testified to these things says, Surely I am coming quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
21. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
22. And they all lived happily ever after.”