The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
- For the film based on the novel, see The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared (film)
The cover of the Swedish original version of the book.
|Original title||Hundraåringen som klev ut genom fönstret och försvann|
|Cover artist||Eric Thunfors|
|Publisher||Piratförlaget, Hyperion Books|
|9 September 2009|
Published in English
|12 July 2012|
|LC Class||PT9877.2.O537 H8513|
|Followed by||The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden|
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (Swedish: Hundraåringen som klev ut genom fönstret och försvann), also known as The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared in the US is a 2009 comic novel by the Swedish author Jonas Jonasson. The Swedish version was first published on 9 September 2009, and the English version on 12 July 2012.
In 2018, a sequel to the book, The Accidental Further Adventures of the Hundred-Year-Old Man, was published which reflects the world's current state of affairs.
Allan Karlsson is about to celebrate his hundredth birthday, and his retirement home in Malmköping is planning to throw a party. Allan is alert despite his age, but is not interested in attending the party. Instead, he climbs out the window and disappears. He walks to the nearest bus station, intending to travel as far as his available cash will allow. While at the bus station, he meets an angry young man with a suitcase which he cannot bring into the toilet as it is too large, so he desperately asks Allan to take care of it. However, Allan's bus soon arrives and Allan boards it, taking the suitcase with him onto the bus. The suitcase turns out to be stuffed with drug dealers' money; Karlsson is chased by the dealers trying to recover their lost cash. Meanwhile, the retirement home calls the police to search for Allan. The police have no knowledge of the money and are only looking for Allan, who is known to be somewhat absent-minded. He gets caught up in criminal activity by accident and ends up, unknown to him, being hunted by both the police and a gang of murderous criminals. Allan manages to outwit one of the criminals with a help of a thief; the criminal freezes to death in a cooler and his body is later thrown into a container heading for Ethiopia. During his escape, Allan meets a few other people, including one who owned an elephant. Allan then outwits another gang member by getting the elephant to crush him to death; the gang member's body is inadvertently sent to Latvia in the boot of a Ford Mustang.
While dealing with Allan's adventures as a centenarian, the novel also provides flashbacks to increasingly fantastic episodes from his long life. As it proceeds, it was shown he had saved General Franco in the Spanish Civil War, and hence he was given a permit to go anywhere as he wished as part of Franco's gratitude. Allan ended up on a ship bound for the United States, where he had helped to make the atom bomb and became good friends with Harry S. Truman in the process. After the war, Truman sent Allan to China to help the Kuomintang fight against the communists, but Karlsson began to lose interest and leaves China for Sweden by foot. During the journey, Allan found himself with a group of Iranian communists; the group crossed the Himalayas to reach Iran. Upon reaching Iran, however, the communists were killed and Allan was taken in custody. He proposed helping the Iranian Chief of Police in the assassination attempt against Winston Churchill, because at the time the Chief of Police was harbouring some ill feeling towards the British. However, this was just a ruse to help Karlsson escape.
Allan returned to Sweden, but on touching down he was met unexpectedly by representatives of the Swedish government, keen on his knowledge of the atomic bomb. However, they were totally unconvinced that Allan, who never attended a university, could have any vital role in its development of the bomb and thus abandon any attempt to interrogate him further. A man, Yury Borisovich Popov, befriends Allan and decided to bring him to the Soviet Union and meet Stalin due to his knowledge of building an atom bomb. However, Allan offended Stalin by admitting that he saved Franco's life (for Franco is fascist in contrast to the communists), and hence was sentenced to hard labour in a gulag in Vladivostok, where he met Albert Einstein's fictional less intelligent brother Herbert Einstein. After he managed to escape from the gulag with Herbert, and also setting fire to the whole of Vladivostok in the process, he decided to go to North Korea, which was then in the midst of the Korean War. Posing as Soviet marshal Kirill Afanesievich Meretskov and his aide, he met Kim Il-sung (and his son Kim Jong-il, then just a child) and Mao Tse-tung, for help to move on to South Korea or China, but they were exposed as Kim Il-sung himself knew Meretskov very well, and when the real Meretskov arrived. However, as Mao Zedong found out that Karlsson had saved his wife, Jiang Qing, in the Chinese Civil War, he decided against killing them and convinced Kim to send Allan and Herbert to Bali, Indonesia, where the two will have a long holiday.
In Bali, Herbert met an unintelligent yet smart Indonesian waitress Ni Wayan Laksmi, whom he later married and called her Amanda. With Mao's big sum of cash, Amanda managed to use it to full potential (saying that everything in Indonesia is "for sale"), such as using it to get Herbert's driving license, helping her own political party to win (when she decided to go into politics), bribing the investigation committee which ranked Bali the least corrupted region, and also investing in various properties in Bali. After Suharto's purges, however, Amanda found politics gruesome and hoped to do something else. Eventually, as Suharto appreciated her efforts to ban the local communists (as Amanda finds them a threat to her political party), he assigned her to be Indonesia's ambassador to France.
Amanda and Herbert, together with Allan, went to France in May 1968. As Amanda needs to go to the Élysée Palace for accreditation, Amanda and Allan eventually had lunch with then French president Charles de Gaulle and American president Lyndon B. Johnson, who was in Paris for peace talks regarding the Vietnam War. At the lunch, Allan managed to identify the French Interior Minister Christian Fouchet's special advisor as a Soviet spy; Allan had spotted him as being an interpreter for Allan at his dinner with Stalin and Beria much earlier. This humiliated Gaulle, and Johnson was pleased, so he invited Allan for dinner. After the dinner, he decides to put Allan to good use by making him a CIA spy to investigate the Soviet's nuclear arsenal. Meanwhile, in France, after the advisor to the Interior Minister has been fired, the protests in Paris stopped, and the president wanted to give Allan a medal, who had already disappeared and left for Moscow. In Moscow, Allan was given a cover as administrator in the American embassy, and he sought after Popov. The both of them decided to make up intelligence reports (based on reality), which pleased both sides. The reports resulted in Richard Nixon visiting Leonid Brezhnev, and increased spending by both sides on their nuclear weapons and defences so that one side could match up to the other, but as the Soviet Union could not keep up with the expenses, it started to collapse. Eventually, Allan and Popov got bored with cooking up reports, and Allan decided to go back to Sweden, while Popov and his wife moved to an apartment in New York City.
Back in Sweden, Allan led a peaceful life, doing everyday things and collecting pensions, and adopted a cat whom he named Molotov. However, Molotov was killed by a fox, and Allan, being fond of the cat, sought revenge and set up a trap for the fox, which resulted in a large explosion destroying whatever he had. Eventually, Allan was sent to the retirement home in Malmköping, which he didn't enjoy because of the strict rules imposed there, and decided to escape on his 100th birthday.
The book concludes when Allan and his gang fly to Indonesia after the incident, and there they spend their time at a luxury hotel managed by Amanda's sons and herself. One day, he is approached by a representative of the Indonesian government who is interested in Allan's knowledge of making an atomic bomb. Allan agreed to help as he believed the Indonesian president, Yudhoyono, is sane, unlike the other leaders he met in his lifetime.
List of characters
Allan Emmanuel Karlsson
Per-Gunnar "Pike" Gerdin a.k.a "Boss"
Jose "Caracas" Mariá Rodriguez
Detective Chief Inspector Aronsson
Director Alice Englund
Tsar Nicholas II
Vladimir Illich Lenin
Professor Bernhard Ludenborg
Buster the Alsatian
Sonya the elephant
Release and reception
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared was released as hardback and audiobook in 2009, and as paperback in 2010. It became the best selling book in Sweden in 2010 and by July 2012 had sold three million copies worldwide. The audiobook, read by the actor Björn Granath, won the Iris Ljudbokspris award in 2010. The book was published in the United Kingdom by Hesperus Press on 12 July 2012 and in the United States by Hyperion Books on 11 September 2012.
In 2013, it was adapted into a film of the same name.
On August 23, 2017, it was announced that CBS Films will collaborate with Gary Sanchez Productions in order to produce an American adaptation of the book. Will Ferrell will star in the film, and it will be produced by Ferrell along with Adam McKay and Jessica Elbaum. The screenplay will be written by Jason George.
- "Hundraåringen som klev ut genom fönstret och försvann" (in Swedish). Piratförlaget. Archived from the original on 2 March 2012. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
- ""Hundraåringen" årets mest sålda bok". Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish). 21 January 2011. Archived from the original on 2 March 2012. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
- Josefsson, Erika (25 September 2010). "Årets bästa ljudbok!". Gefle Dagblad (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 2 March 2012. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
- Alberge, Dalya (4 March 2012). "Swedish bestseller has the last laugh". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 12 March 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
- "Will Ferrell to Star in 'The 100-Year-Old Man' Adaptation (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. 23 August 2017. Retrieved 25 August 2017.