I mostly read non-fiction. It´s probably because I prefer reality to fiction and promises that I keep hearing from all sides. But when reading 52 books a year, I started mixing the non-fiction books with quite some novels. I still prefer the stories that play with reality and real historical events in a way that makes the fiction feel like reality.
And that´s why I´m glad I came across the Hundred-year-old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared. No person in history could have been in the middle of all major happenings of the 20th century. Dining with Franco, suggesting Stalin to shave off his mustache, be drinking with Truman when Roosvelt died, getting out of Gulag with Albert Einstein´s half-brother (half-retarded one), appearing in front of Kim Il Sung, his little son Kim Jong Il and even Mao Tse-tung… But Allan Karlsson did. And I can say that probably no other (fictional) character could teach you about the last century’s history in a more funny way than Allan did. Also, nobody could have changed the history more easily than he could. As he said: “There are only two things I can do better than most people. One is to make vodka from goat´s milk, and the other is to put together an atom bomb.” But his interest in world events didn´t include any interest in trying to change them.
I admire Allan Karlsson for his style. And I’m grateful he climbed out of the window at his 100th birthday.