Some time ago I went on a press trip to Sörmland. The program mentioned that we would visit Malmköping because this is where the 100-year-old Allan climbed out of the window of his room at the retirement home, on the day of his birthday. The beginning of the book “Hundraåringen sum klev ut genom fönstret och försvann” (or “The 100-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared” in English) is set in and around Malmköping.
A few months earlier I had already begun in a Swedish book. Pretty ambitious for someone who only started learning the language a few months earlier. The book ended up on the shelf after a few pages. I wanted to know EVERY word which is not a good idea if you also want to enjoy the book. But since some months had gone by, I wanted to give it a second change. The book by Jonas Jonasson has been translated to over 30 languages but I had decided to read the original.
As soon as I was back in Sweden, I went to the local bookstore and bought Hundraåringen. I had some two weeks to read the book before we would be in Malmköping and therefore had no time to look up every word I did not know. This proved to be the right tactic.
The Story of Allan
Hundraåringen is very pleasant to read. You can really ‘see’ Allan jumping out of the window, with his hat and slippers. I’m not a huge book reader but Hundraåringen had me in its grip. The book alternates Allan escape route with heroic stories from his life. Who can say that he met both Franco, Truman and Einstein? His escape route stands for adventure. He “accidentally” takes a bag with him that actually belongs to criminals.
Hundraåringen – the movie (s)
The book of Jonas Jonassen was the best-selling book in Sweden in 2010 and has since been translated into English and some 30 other languages. In 2013, the book was filmed. My advice: read the book and if you like to, watch the movie afterwards. The film is directed by Felix Herngren and currently to be seen on Netflix (at least it is in Belgium).
Big fan of Allan Karlsson? At the end of December (2016) Hundraettåringen, the 101-year-old had its premiere. You guessed it… It’s the sequel to the first film.
Malmköping is a small village in Sörmland, just south of Stockholm, and belongs to the municipality of Flen. You can visit the nursing home where the story of Hundraåringen begins. The local tourist office were playing on the hype of the book. On one of the walls of the care center you can see the shadow of Allan as he climbs out the window.
A little further you will find the bus stop. I wish I had posed on the bench but as it often is the case with press trips, we didn’t really had the time for that. The bus station looks really different from the one in the book. I was looking for the offices and toilets but saw no building. If you take bus 202 towards Strängnäs you literally travel in Allan’s footsteps.
Another spot from Hundraåringen you can visit is the train station of Byringe. The couple that is now living in the former station building didn’t know their house figured in the popular book. When they heard it, they hung back the old board ‘Byringe’ at the building so tourists know they are in the right place. The station building dates from 1895 and was used as a station until 1968. Since 1994 no trains pass here anymore.
Did you Hundraåringen read already (in what language?) or have you seen the movie? I was certainly a fan of the book of Jonas Jonassen! In the meantime I even bought his second (Mördar Anders) and third book!