The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window
A hilarious, crazy, disjointed literary work! Terry Fallis, you don’t need to feel threatened but at the outset of this book, I would have written that you were in deep trouble. Not so.
Jonasson starts off strong. His prime character is a gem of charisma, affability, personability and attraction. You cannot help but like Allan Karlson, the 100 year old man. He calls a spade a spade, tells it like it is and has no use for politics and windbags. However, he likes a good drink, more often than anyone would approve of for a centenarian. Vodka is his drink of choice, but in a pinch he will have whatever is at hand, colourfully decorated with a tiny, paper parasol, or tinted some mirky colour to give it more attractability.
Our 100 year old man, to avoid his centenarian birthday celebration at the seniors’ home in which he resides, climbs out the ground floor window, initiating a never ending list of unusual events and experiences. These never ending events range from the sublime and mundane to the hilarious and improbable, but each one makes for an increasingly unbelievable situation. Our hero interacts with a slew of past world leaders, Stalin, Truman, Mao Tse Tung, Nixon, DeGaulle, Franco, and more. Each meeting involves dining and the inescapable imbibing of some alcoholic spirit. Tequila with Truman, vodka with Stalin and Beria, banana coloured liquer with the Thai heavy weights, the story goes on and on with hilarious anecdotes presented as possibly real life situations.
The GOOD, the BAD, the UGLY
The book starts off with as a humorous narrative of a centenarian escaping from his seniors’ residence on his 100th birthday to avoid the tediousness of interacting with municipal officials, old folks home big wigs, and all of that ilk. Karlson simply wants a day of calm, relaxation to enjoy his own reminiscing. It doesn’t happen and his hilarious adventures begin with his escape. Entertaining reading.
Eventually the story after hitting some entertaining detours, becomes repetitive and predictable. This is disappointing not just because the repetition and predictability become boring but because the reader now feels like the author’s literary control has been dissipated and dissolved. The reader is almost the director of what will take place in their capability of predicting what will occur next. So sad.
Finally, the story reaches its nadir by repeating the same pattern ad nauseam: have a totally unexpected meeting a world leader, have dinner and drinks, settle a political issue simply, all too easily and end the meeting on a note of empathetic positives; repeat, then repeat again until the reader wants to throttle the writer for nauseating boredom.
Jonasson continuously redeems himself from total reader rejection by entertaining descriptions of near plausible events. Just when a reader readies themselves to toss the book aside, Jonasson introduces a new event, a new situation which titillates the reader’s curiousity, sparks their interest and the reader goes on. At times the events descriptions are too long, unduly repetitive, and unnecessarily overly descriptive.
Be all the above as it may, the book is a real story of fluff written with wit and creativity, enough that no reader can say the book is no good. It is simply different and at more times than not, creatively funny.
I am happy to have read it.