“Sitting quietly in his room in an old people’s home, Allan Karlsson is waiting for a party he doesn’t want to begin. His one-hundredth birthday party to be precise. The Mayor will be there. The press will be there. But, as it turns out, Allan will not…”
I bought this book whilst killing time waiting for a train to Bath and rather aptly a train station is where Allan starts his journey upon his escape from an old people’s home. This international best seller from Jonas Jonasson, a journalist from Sweden, is a charming, comic story of one man’s travels across Sweden with no real sense of where he is going or for what purpose. Allan Karlsson is the Forest Gump of the senior citizen world. As he meets weird and wonderful characters on his travels including a circus elephant, some unfriendly criminals and a friendly hot dog stall owner he regales them with fantastical stories of his past meetings with dominant historical leaders such as Franco, Truman and Reagan.
The historical stories can get a little too in depth and wordy at times, which I personally struggled with although it did help increase my rather poor knowledge of some key political events in history. Although it is quite frankly completely far fetched and unbelievable at times, it is written in such a charming, witty way that we forgive Jonnason this. I love the fact that the main protagonist is an old man, rarely do we see this in such a positive light and as the back of the book states “You’re never too old for an adventure”.
As my train journey took me through the beautiful Somerset countryside, I found it difficult to take my eyes off of the book. The images that Jonnason creates and the beautiful way in which he lays out Allan’s journey are captivating and I was sad when my train pulled into Bath station.
One of the best books I’ve read so far this year and with the film set to be released in the Summer this is one story I will be talking about for some time.
Next month’s book: ‘The Universe versus Alex Woods‘