Jonas Jonasson was born in Sweden in 1962. A former journalist and media consultant, he is now writing his second novel.
Jonasson's laugh-out-loud debut (a bestseller in Europe) reaches the U.S. three years after its Swedish publication, in Bradbury's pitch-perfect translation. The intricately plotted saga of Allan Karlsson begins when he escapes his retirement home on his 100th birthday by climbing out his bedroom window. After stealing a young punk's money-filled suitcase, he embarks on a wild adventure, and through a combination of wits, luck, and circumstance, ends up on the lam from both a smalltime criminal syndicate and the police. Jonasson moves deftly through Karlsson's life-from present to past and back again-recounting the fugitive centenarian's career as a demolitions expert and the myriad critical junctures of history, including the Spanish Civil War and the Manhattan Project, wherein Karlsson found himself an unwitting (and often influential) participant. Historical figures like Mao's third wife, Vice President Truman, and Stalin appear, to great comic effect. Other characters-most notably Albert Einstein's hapless half-brother-are cleverly spun into the raucous yarn, and all help drive this gentle lampoon of procedurals and thrillers. Agent: Anna Soler-Pont, Pontas Literary. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Swedish author Jonasson received rave reviews in Europe for this first novel, a best seller there. But this picaresque tale with its deadpan humor is not your typical American--style blockbuster. Allan Karlsson, the centenarian who sneaks out of his nursing home, is an expert on explosives who has led an outsize life. In his travels, he has not only met just about every famous and infamous world leader but has inadvertently played a significant role in many world events. The book has been compared to both Forrest Gump and Zelig, but while this novel is not sentimental like Forrest Gump, neither is it as funny as Zelig. Chapters alternate between Allan's big adventures in the past and in the present, where he gets mixed up with a zany bunch of Swedes and a former circus elephant as they try to avoid both cops and gangsters. VERDICT This quirky novel is a sly, satirical look back at international relations in the 20th century through the eyes of an old man who has seen it all.-Leslie Patterson, Rehoboth, MA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.