Jonas Jonasson claims it took him 47 years to write his debut novel – he nurtured the idea for it throughout that time but didn’t get round to writing it until he had retired. A one-off Book Club meeting I attended lead me to this gem and, in a way, it has changed my life a little. Despite its hefty size (and title!), the book is incredibly gripping and easy to read. The story depicts the life of Allan, the protagonist, who literally escapes through the window of his nursing home bedroom on his hundredth birthday as he doesn’t feel like attending his own party. From then on, we follow his incredible journey, cleverly intersected with passages from his early life, right up until the present day. He has to be one of the most inspiring characters in modern literature as his positive, carefree attitude made me promise to live in the moment more frequently. Although a little unrealistic at times with several murders, encounters with elephants and a vast array of World Leaders, the novel is exciting, moving and hysterical.