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The hundred year old man returns

Book review: The accidental further adventures of the hundred year old man by Jonas Jonasson

The hundred year old man is back and the escape is bigger. Forget windows and think hot air balloons. Readers had previously left Allan Karlson happily ensconsed in Bali with friend and thief Julius Jonsson enjoying their ill-gotten millions. In Jonas Jonasson’s sequel, The Accidental further adventures of the hundred year old man, tropical paradise has become tedious and Karlson’s run of mishaps and strange luck is about to return.

A romp through the fantastical and hilarious

Karlson’s adventures continue to run the gamut from the sublime to the ridiculous. Whether you care about how believable the adventures are (the key is to suspend disbelief and enjoy the fantasy), the story is great fun. Jonasson manages to incorporate all the biggest concerns of today’s world in a very short space. Karlson somehow survives encounters with Kim Jong-Un and Trump, a neo-nazi gangster and inadvertently saves the world, becoming friends with Angela Merkel in the process.

Fake news and defamation

I’m no lawyer but I suspect it’s probably lucky that His Twittiness, aka US President Trump, is unlikely to ever read this. Or Netanyahu. Or Kim Jong-un. At one point, all three are compared and described as having a “monumental lack of humour and self-awareness”.

Trump is the gift that keeps on giving and Jonasson mines him for every last piece of gold. At one stage, the US President screams about how stable he is, on a golf course. Another point, he prides himself on his daily twitter battles. Later, he tells Angela Merkel that NATO is useless and brilliant in the same conversation.

Putin, by contrast, would probably be delighted by his depiction as an intelligent and calculating meddler in the world’s politics.

A book of its time

The only danger I can see for the latest adventures of Allan Karlson is currency. This is a book that is thoroughly embedded in the world of today and its humour comes from references to current affairs and pop culture. Will someone in thirty years pause to laugh hysterically at the Trump quotes? If they were an adult today, then probably yes. Otherwise, probably not. Perhaps it doesn’t matter. The book acts as a time capsule, crystallising life and concerns in a clever, fantastical way.

Distracted by life

At the end of the day, if you need a good laugh at the depressing state of world affairs, this is your book. It might also make you feel a stronger sense of appreciation for the world’s diplomats too.