One hour before the celebrations for his 100th birthday are to start Allan Karlsson decides that he has had enough of life in the retirement home where he lives, especially of the bossy nurse named Alice, climbs out of his window and walks of.
Allan doesn’t have a clear plan as to where he wants to go, he just wants to get away. On his slippers he slowly makes his way to the bus station. While he’s waiting for the first bus that can take him further away a young man asks him to mind a big suitcase while he uses the toilet, which Allan, always happy to help others, does. But, when the bus arrives before the young man has returned, Allan takes the suitcase with him.
Allan only travels as far as a 50 Swedish Krona note will allow. When he gets of the bus with his suitcase he finds himself near a no longer operational railway station where he meets Julius Jonsson with whom he has dinner and quite a few drinks.
Meanwhile, the young man is very upset that his suitcase has gone and is determined to find the old man and get his suitcase back before his boss finds out what has happened.
Allan and Julius soon discover that the suitcase is filled with millions worth of Krona and realise that who ever the case belongs to will want it back.
And so a madcap road trip starts with Allan and Julius trying to stay ahead of both the police, who are looking for the missing old-age pensioner, and the gang wanting their money back. And while they’re travelling the two man acquire companions where-ever they go.
At the same time the story of Allan Karlsson’s very long and very remarkable life is told. A life during which he was part of major historical events. A life so filled with adventure that it is a miracle that he managed to reach the ripe old age of 100th.
This is a fantastical book and not a story to be taken seriously. It is also a very funny story that had me laughing out loud on several occasions. Both the main characters life and his escape from the home are highly improbable and or the more fun for it.
Allan has a very simplistic outlook on life. What will happen will happen and there’s no point getting upset or worried about it, and that is the attitude that carries him through adventure after adventure.
I don’t think there is a single character in this book who isn’t either stupid, innocent or corrupt (and often a combination of the three) and that goes for both the fictional and the historically real characters.
I saw this book described as a Swedish Forrest Gump and I think that is a very accurate picture. Allan does meet all sorts of important people and is involved in, if not responsible for, all sorts of world changing events during his adventures.
Not a book to read if you want your literature to be serious or true to life. If however you are looking for a good natured fun read, this is a book you should look forward to and read as soon as it becomes available. It is no accident this book sold over 750.000 copies in Sweden, where it also won the Swedish Booksellers Award and has been in the Dutch bestseller’s list for nearly a year.