I usually finish a book before sharing, but this one is such fun that even though I’ve read only six pages, I can’t wait. The Daily Express (UK) highly recommends it, too.
Background: One-hundred-year-old Allan Karlson and his younger friend, Julius Jonsson, bored with frittering away the millions they brought from Sweden in a suitcase, have become bored with frittering, when Allan acquires a contraption with a half-eaten apple on one side and a lit up screen on the other.
“Once the hundred-year-old man learned how the remarkable contraption worked, he no sooner woke for the day than he turned it on to see what had happened overnight. It was the minor delightful news that amused him most. Like the one about how a hundred doctors and nurses in Naples took turns signing each other in and out so no one had to work but everyone still got paid. Or the one about Romania, how so many government officials had had to be locked up for corruption that the country’s prisons were full. And how those officials who had yet to be arrested had a solution to the problem: legalize corruption so they would avoid the need to build more prisons.
” . . . At first Julius enjoyed the brief news updates . . . He was immediately delighted by the Romanian notion of making the illegal legal. Just think how much easier it would be as a petty thief in such a society.
“But Allan quickly disabused him of that thought, because if petty thievery were to become legal then the concept would cease to exist. . . .If swindling could no longer be considered a swindle, what was the point?
“Allan consoled him with the information that the Romanians had turned out to a man to protest against the politicians’ and officials’ plans. The average Romanian was not as philosophically inclined as those in power. He or she reasoned that those who stole should be locked up, no matter their title or position, and whether or not there was anywhere to lock them up.
“ . . . When the leading news story on the morning in question told him that it was twenty degrees warmer than usual at the North Pole, Allan wondered if that might be an option.
“Julius stuffed fried noodles into his mouth, finished chewing, then said he didn’t think the North Pole was the right place for him and Allan. Especially not if the ice was about to melt. Julius caught a cold whenever his feet got wet. And there were polar bears, and all Julius knew about polar bears was that they seemed to get out on the wrong side of the bed every morning from birth onward. At least the snakes on Bali were shy.
“Allan said it was no wonder that a polar bear might lose its temper given that the ground was melting beneath its feet. If things were about to go down the tubes, that bear probably ought to stroll to solid ground while it had time. Canada, in that case, because the United States had a new president again–had Allan already mentioned this to Julius? And by golly, this new guy wouldn’t allow just anyone over the border.
“Yes, Julius had heard of Trump. That was his name. The polar bear may have been white, but it was a foreigner first and foremost. So it shouldn’t get its hopes up.”
Jonas Jonasson, The Accidental Further Adventures of the 100-Year-Old Man. New York: William Morrow, 2018.
Sequel to The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.