Jonas Jonasson

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5 books, 5 continents, 45 countries, 16 million copies 

 

I have always been a writer. Only, other things got in the way. Things I thought I had to take care of first.
As a result, years passed while the writer did not write a single book. I made my way through newspapers and television instead. As I woke up one day, I was no longer twenty-three but going on forty-eight.
The realisation of the years rushing by finally made me reinvent myself. Or climb out the window, if you like. Here is what happened next:

 


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The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared (2009)
In 2007, I sold everything I owned, packed my bag and placed myself under a palm tree by Lake Lugano, laptop in lap.
Exactly twelve months later, I finished the manuscript. The one I had been carrying around in my mind for so long. Lovingly, it rips the twentieth century of all its glory and righteousness. And yet it embraces life. How could it not? How could we not? The alternative must be boring beyond everything!
Anyway, I sent the manuscript to six different publishing companies. Five of them turned it down, the sixths called me and said yes before they finished reading. Success was in the making, they said. They got bold and printed seven thousand copies in the first go. "Seven thousand? Are you sure?"
"You can never be sure", they said.
It sold ten million. Encouraging enough to give it another try.
 
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The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden (2013)
After my Hundred-Year-Old, I took a breather (who wouldn't?). It involved repositioning once again and moving back to Sweden, this time with my baby boy. We settled down in Gotland, an island in the middle of the Baltic Sea, enclosed by nature, culture and history. It was once the Vikings' location of choice. To this day, my farming neighbours still stumble across their silver treasures. (Interesting life philosophy, by the way: You are born, you collect silver, you dig it down, you die.)
I sat down on a rock by the ocean and once again looked at the world. At the folly that escaped my first book. Double folly, in fact, apartheid and nuclear weapons. At the same time. In the same place. Simultaneously. Someone raised the question whether it was appropriate to turn apartheid into a joke. By all means! The stupider man makes himself, the easier to mock him. Filmmakers seem to agree. The Girl became my first book to be signed for a Hollywood movie (since then The Hundred-Year-Old Man has also found his way there).
Another million copies. No reason to stop now.
 
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Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All (2015)
In my third book, the object of my mockery is not so much the world as human values. I recall a story that my grandmother used to tell when I was a child: Two brothers, Sven and Lars, were fighting. Their dad broke it off and commanded: "Stop it at once! Who started this?" Lars gave him the answer: "It all started with Sven striking back".
A grown up variation on that very theme presents itself when we blame others for the situation we have put ourselves in, as if we are free from blame. History shows that anyone who claims to be a victim can inflict a lot of harm on others. The victim does not carry the burden of guilt - he is the victim! The consequences, big and small, have all made it into my book.
While my first book turned into plays, radio adaptations and board games, my second got contracted by Hollywood. Hitman Anders took it to the next level. He became key rings, boxes of matches and neon green passport cases. I tried out the latter on my way to Kenya once, and was almost denied access to the country. Maybe it is not a good idea to present a passport with the word "Hitman" on the cover?
 
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The Accidental Further Adventures of the Hundred-Year-Old Man (2018)
After Hitman Anders and its rather local perspective, I felt the need to take a closer look at the world again. My literary career started by pulling down the pants of the twentieth century. It did not help much, so I thought I would give it another go! The new century deserves more of the same.
However, Allan Karlsson was never meant to make a comeback. He just happened to, as he does. He was the stand-in for the main character I first had in mind (who got the boot as we never really got to know each other). Because, let's face it, no one is better suited to reveal the shortcomings of mankind than Allan. He is a natural. My grumpy uncle Hans, who never agrees with anything, agrees! As per usual, I sent him the manuscript as soon as I finished it. He called me back two days later: "Crap", he said. "The best piece of crap you've written so far".
Thank you, uncle. You are the inspiration of my life!
 
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Sweet, Sweet Revenge Ltd (autumn 2020)
The fifth novel was sold to several parts of the world long before anyone had read even a sentence. “We trust you, Jonas,” said the publishers. I’m wondering what they’re trusting in. My talent for portraying how terrible our world is? Or is it that I’m bestowing hope unto a world of misery?

Regardless of which way it really is, in “Sweet, Sweet Regvenge Ltd” I delve into the wonderful universe of free art, which has since the beginning of the last century been experienced as the biggest enemy of the authoritative powers just by being itself. If you add onto it the counterproductive yet oh so human emotion of revenge, with a dash of a Maasai warrior and medicine man, well then you have the recipe for Jonas Jonasson’s fifth novel. To be launched in several countries during the fall of 2020.
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