I have been meaning, as usual, to write this review for a couple of months now. But as usual, life happens, Christmas stuff and then one’s son breaks his arms before Christmas… anyhow, I am now getting to it.
This is the second book I have read from Jonas Jonasson and I LOVE IT! You can read my review of “The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared” here.
“The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden” is once again written in that matter-of-fact tone of voice which is serious and funny at the same time. This story follows a young African girl, Nombeko, who raises through the ranks of the sanitation industry in the slums of Johannesburg, from latrine barrel mover to being in charge of the whole area. Gifted in Math and having an ability to understand how people think/work, along with a hunger to learn, she sets her sights on getting to the National Library in Pretoria.
But as life would have it, it didn’t happen. She was run over by a drunk driver on her way to the National Library, who turned out to be the head engineer of the top-secret nuclear facility in South Africa. He made her his servant at the facility for many years. It sounds bad, but she did get access to the library at the facility and food and shelter. She made friends with 3 Chinese sisters who were at the facility for similar reasons and amazingly learned to speak their Chinese dialect.
The highly unlikely but wholly probable thing happens; the engineer got into trouble and somehow, she came to be in a position where she was negotiating with one of the world’s most feared secret service over a nuclear bomb and ends up on the run from them.
Her next stop – Sweden, where she meets the love of her life, Holger, and his crazy twin brother who has an even crazier girlfriend. The twin brother has ludicrous plans to harm the monarchy and the King of Sweden. Once again, she manages the circumstances and the people involved superbly and they live in relative peace for a while.
But her life adventures were not over, the nuclear bomb remained (yes, a super unlikely situation but still within the realms of possibility) with her all these years and now it threatened to upset her life again. And so they went on the run again, getting crazy twin brother’s girlfriend’s grandmother involved.
Her ability to speak a specific Chinese dialect enabled her to be able to gain access to a high-level Chinese official whom she met while in the engineer’s service, who was able to help her gain access to the King of Sweden. With a few more twists and turns, she managed to get rid of the bomb, save the King and avert an international political affair, and still crave out some sort of a life for her and her beloved Holger.
I have given out more of the story than I usually do but I felt I had to. I wanted you to see how wonderfully unlikely, yet amazingly beautiful this story is. I can’t tell it like Jonasson but this gives you a tiny peek into it.
This book is so funny and yet it made me think about people and their fears, and what we do with our fears and how that affects the people around us.
If you have not read any of Jonas Jonasson’s books, I would highly recommend it.