A funny social commentary

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Book: The Accidental Further Adventures Of The Hundred-Year-old Man
Author: Jonas Jonasson
Publisher: Fourth Estate
Pages: 434; Price: Rs 399

First, the 100-year-old man climbed out of the window and disappeared with a suitcase full of cash, and ultimately ended up enjoying himself at a luxurious hotel in Bali, Indonesia, along with his friend Julius Johnsson. But how can the centenarian Allan Karlsson lead a quiet life? And so the sequel to The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared sees Jonas Jonasson share the further ‘mis’adventures of Allan. Allan had in the first book said, “When life has gone into overtime it’s easy to take liberties,” and so as he celebrates his 101st birthday in the sequel he continues getting into improbable, sticky situations and then extricating himself and his friend out of them.

By placing the duo in the present and having them interact with real-life political figures like Kim Jong-un, Donald Trump and Angela Merkel adds an element of reality that makes the book a social commentary on the sad state of affairs. The introduction of an iPad into Allan’s life also shows us how being attached to smart gadgets and technology makes us less interesting and just mouth pieces of the news being disseminated and devoured through these appliances. But sadly, that is at the cost of the character.

The misadventures start with Allan and Julius taking a hot air balloon trip inadvertently and going to North Korea where Allan has to pretend to be a nuclear weapons expert. It then spirals into a complex diplomatic crisis involving world figures.
The book is quite fast-paced, but still not quite as well paced as the first book. Sequels are difficult to write and this one doesn’t match up to the first in comparison. But that is not to say that it isn’t good. It can stand on its own feet and does.
The series is a satirical historical fiction, a format I have never read before, but one that I can’t let go off now. It is rightly said that the books are a sort of Forrest Gump meets Mr Magoo. And I, for one, am looking forward to Allan’s 102nd birthday.



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