Books Like The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
There is a trend in fiction for most of the primary characters to be young and healthy, especially in stories that involve action and adventure. This is understandable for genres such as young adult where authors want their target audiences to be able to relate to their characters. However, this often means that older characters are overlooked or relegated to background roles. One novel that bucked this trend is The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. It features a protagonist who escapes from his hundredth birthday celebration at his retirement home and ends up embarking on an adventure that sees him on the run from the police and a drug gang. The novel also features flashbacks to his youth, which shows that he already has a penchant for all kinds of misadventures. While there are not a lot of other novels featuring centenarian protagonists here are a few other books like The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.
By Jonas Jonasson
Nine years after the publication of The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared Jonas Jonasson published the sequel, titled The Accidental Further Adventures of the Hundred-Year-Old Man. It is set after the events of the first book and sees the protagonist, Allan Karlsson, using his newfound wealth to live at a luxury hotel in Bali. However, Allan along with his friend Julius end up having to be rescued by a North Korean ship after a hot-air balloon incident at Allan’s 101st birthday celebration. Matters become even more complicated when a suitcase full of contraband uranium enters the picture and the two protagonists become embroiled in a diplomatic crisis. While the book features a more political tone than the first novel, it still has plenty of humorous situations for Allan to navigate.
by Rachel Joyce
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce features a 65-year-old protagonist who receives a letter while cutting the lawn outside his house. The letter is from a colleague of Harold who he has not seen or heard from in twenty years. After reading the upsetting contents of the letter Harold writes her a reply and walks to the corner mailbox to send it away. However, on his way to the mailbox, Harold has a change of heart and decides that he should deliver the message in person. The only catch is that to do so Harold would have to make a six hundred mile journey and he doesn’t even have a mobile phone on him, let alone a map or hiking boots. Nevertheless, Harold is convinced that he might just be able to save someone else’s life if he simply keeps walking.
By Penny Watson
Apples Should Be Red is a romantic comedy novella by Penny Watson featuring a cranky 62-year-old protagonist named Tom Jenkins. Tom is politically incorrect, likes to chain-smoke, curses every chance he gets, and doesn’t particularly like people, so he’s not impressed when he is tasked with holding Thanksgiving. Nevertheless, Tom thinks he can get away with the whole thing by putting in the least amount of effort, but this doesn’t sit well with Beverly Anderson, the 59-year old mother of his daughter-in-law. To make matters worse Beverly has to stay over at Tom’s place for a few days leading up to Thanksgiving and their opposing personalities cause a lot of friction. The two of them can’t even agree on what the color of apples should be, but somewhere in between the battle of wills Tom and Beverly begin to fall for each other.
by Sarah Ladipo Manyika
Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun by Sarah Ladipo Manyika is the story of Morayo Da Silva. Morayo is a Nigerian lady who is in her seventies living in San Francisco. Although her seventy-fifth birthday is looming Morayo is determined to match the youthful energy of San Francisco, so she still enjoys taking road trips in her vintage Porsche and getting into conversations with strangers. Because Morayo values her health and independence so much it is a shock to her when she loses both due to a fall. Since she doesn’t have a family to rely on anymore Morayo has to rely on the friends she has made in San Francisco as well as the chance encounters she has with strangers. It is a new experience for Marayo who has always lived life to the full and causes her to reminisce about all the ups and downs she’s had to face over the years.
by Kathleen Rooney
Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk is the second novel by Kathleen Rooney, which she based loosely on the life of Margaret Fishback. The 85-year-old protagonist arrived has been in New York since the 1930s and climbed her way to the top by becoming the world’s highest-paid advertising woman. However, she finds herself alone in the city on New Year’s Eve of 1984, so she decided to take a 10-mile walk. Along the way she spots a lot of sights and sounds that open up a flood of memories for her and the extraordinary life that she has lived. Lillian also meets a colorful cast of characters during her walk, ranging from children and bartenders to shopkeepers and criminals. The novel is not just a humorous and touching story about Lillian, but also an ode to the city that never sleeps.