20 December 2018

Book Review: The Hundred Year-Old Man who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

I have to admit, I started reading this book and thought that I hated it. But as I delved deeper, I slowly reconsidered my stance, and now that I am finished with it, I think it was okay.

See, I started to read this book, and I couldn't help but think that everything was just so implausible. I mean, the chances that this single insignificant old man could have strung together a series of very important and not-so-important events, the chance of that was just nil. Perhaps I just couldn't let go, and it was very hard to suspend disbelief. And then I encountered Sonya, the elephant.

Oh, Sonya cracked me up. I laughed out loud when Sonya sat on one of the criminals, crushing him to death. That was immensely funny, and perhaps that was the turning point, when I started laughing and started enjoying the book.

So after that, I just sat back and enjoyed the ride. It's nevertheless not high brow literature: I heard it was made into a movie, but I have no plans to see it. I feel like the experience I have gained reading the book was enough. And I am not sure whether I would remember this book for years to come. As far as I can see it, it provided me with some laughter, some entertainment, but did I enrich myself and acquire a significant piece of culture? Probably not. Then again that's probably not the goal of the author.

This isn't my typical genre. And perhaps I won't read another book by the author. But that's okay. Sometimes one needs to break out of the mould and do something atypical and different. Like the main character, who decided to climb out of the window and disappear. So I opted to pause Latin American magical realism for a while and read Swedish comedy instead.

One thing that amazed me, one thing that I thought was quite nifty, was that the novel is actually circular. The first and final chapters are exactly the same, in verbatim. the story comes full circle. And I thought that was a neat literary trick.

In any case, this was fun. Read it if you want to laugh. But you better suspend disbelief really early. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

See my other book reviews here.

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