Wednesday, 18 June 2014

The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden - Jonas Jonasson

As a literature lover, its unsurprising that the first thing I did after weeks of reading, writing and revising for exams was to go book shopping - what else?!

I bought We Were Liars and you can find my review of it just below. I was looking for something fun and interesting to take on holiday and decided to give the Waterstones 'Book of the Month' a go; that is, Jonas Jonasson's The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden.

Having yet to read Jonasson's debut novel the 100-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, despite hearing good things about it, I wasn't at all sure what to expect from this orange and black book with an unusual title.

Unusual I think is a fitting word for the novel. Unique, funny, smart - The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden is unlike anything I'd read before. Cute and unashamedly contrived, the novel traces the life of Nobemko who, having grown up in the slums of South Africa and worked in the sanitation department as a lavatory emptier, somehow gets caught up with South Africa's atomic weapons plans while living in the world's most neutral, war-free country - Sweden. Everything goes wrong in a funny, comical - almost slapstick - manner, yet the novel retains a clear underlying political current. Drawing upon real life circumstances, people and events, Jonasson uses history to create fiction, or does he use fiction to tell history? Either way the clever, obvious intermingling of fact and fiction makes The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden a really interesting read - I can see why Waterstones are backing it!

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