Review published on January 7, 2018.
I had read the best-selling debut book by Jonas Jonasson, The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, and decided to invest in this, his second novel, The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden. Both books reveal a certain, obviously surreal quality to the plots, but this newer book features an altogether stranger storyline that almost borders on the cartoon.
It is fun, it is unbelievable, and it is also altogether bizarre in the extreme, so for people who require something a trifle off the wall, this may well fit the bill. One can easily engage with all the characters, either the good or the bad, and the sometimes complex interplay between them. I found the book interestingly different, but it also serves to prove that my own personal taste towards non-fiction is well founded. Having said that, I had to finish the book just to find out what happens at its conclusion.
I guess one could suggest this makes superb holiday reading; it seems easily absorbed, quickly paced in its narrative, although it covers quite a few years of the young girl’s life. A brief summary of relevant plot features are a clever black girl aged 14 in Soweto, her job is clearing effluent, she gets run over by a drunken man, she gets wrongly blamed and sentenced to slavery for the man himself. Nuclear bombs come into the storyline, political intrigues, a few deaths, sent to Sweden by foul means or fair, the bomb follows her, and we then get an entire other story as a result.
Insanely witty, unlikely situations develop that get the protagonists into all manner of scrapes that shoot along at a cracking pace. Well worth buying for a change of storytelling, it is most certainly unusual and weirdly entertaining.
Reg Seward 4/3
The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson
Fourth Estate 9780007557905 pbk Apr 2014