Article published on January 15, 2015.
Here beginneth our quest to identify the Book of the 21st Century (so far!).
Obviously, the century has barely started but already there are some amazing books.
So, we thought we’d start a debate that will rage through hell and high water with
gnashing of teeth and hair rent from scalps.
Seriously, we present for you the first in a series we plan to build over
the coming weeks and months so if there’s a book published since
January 2000 that you think everybody should read then why not send us your review?
Reader Judith Ayles has been good enough to start us off with The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson.
This is my book of the 21st Century.
In 2005 Allan Karlsson, who lives in an old people’s home, decides to run away from his 100th birthday party. He climbs out of the window, in his slippers and without a hat, beginning an adventure that ultimately involves 3 criminals, a number of murders, a petty thief/recluse, a hot dog stand owner and his brother, a woman with a dog, an elephant and a lonely police chief.
As this story pans out, the reader learns about Allan’s long and eventful life during which he met many of the leading figures of the 20th Century and played a key role in momentous developments and events.
When I saw the title I had no idea what to expect but having read it I can say it is now one of my favourite books. I read it in 2012 and have not read anything to match it since.
What can I say? It’s unbelievable, it’s ridiculous and it’s brilliant. It is so crazy and so funny. It had me laughing out loud and that takes a lot of doing!
It is very well written – perhaps credit needs to be given to Rod Bradbury for his excellent translation from the original Swedish making it very easy to read and extremely entertaining.
Unexpected twists and turns, characters that are endearing and amazing; the story moves seamlessly between past and present. I couldn’t put it down and I didn’t want it to end. Unusually, it delivers everything that has been said about it.
I can’t think of anything bad to say!
Judith Ayles, Tyne & Wear
Personal Rating 5*
Reading Group Rating 5*
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson was first published by Hesperus Press.
AND THE WINNER IS: 2014 Costa Book Awards Category Winners announced