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The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden: A Novel

The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden: A Novel


The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden: A Novel

ratings:
4/5 (47 ratings)
Length:
11 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Apr 29, 2014
ISBN:
9780062333506
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

A wildly picaresque new novel from Jonas Jonasson, the author of the internationally bestselling The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

In a tiny shack in the largest township in South Africa, Nombeko Mayeki is born. Put to work at five years old and orphaned at ten, she quickly learns that the world expects nothing more from her than to die young, be it from drugs, alcohol, or just plain despair. But Nombeko has grander plans. She learns to read and write, and at just fifteen, using her cunning and fearlessness, she makes it out of Soweto with millions of smuggled diamonds in her possession. Then things take a turn for the worse....

Nombeko ends up the prisoner of an incompetent engineer in a research facility working on South Africa's secret nuclear arsenal. Yet the unstoppable Nombeko pulls off a daring escape to Sweden, where she meets twins named Holger One and Holger Two, who are carrying out a mission to bring down the Swedish monarchy...by any means necessary.

Nombeko's life ends up hopelessly intertwined with the lives of the twins, and when the twins arrange to kidnap the Swedish king and prime minister, it is up to our unlikely heroine to save the day—and possibly the world. In this wild romp, Jonasson tackles issues ranging from the pervasiveness of racism to the dangers of absolute power while telling a charming and hilarious story along the way. In the satirical voice that has earned him legions of fans the world over, Jonasson gives us another rollicking tale of how even the smallest of decisions can have sweeping—even global—consequences.

Publisher:
Released:
Apr 29, 2014
ISBN:
9780062333506
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

Jonas Jonasson was a journalist for the Expressen newspaper for many years. He became a media consultant and later set up a company producing sports and events for Swedish television, before selling his company and moving abroad to work on his first novel. He is the author of The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden, and Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All. He lives on the Swedish island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea.


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What people think about The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden

4.1
47 ratings / 35 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    The Leo Waterman series from this author were all excellent, enjoyable stories!
  • (4/5)
    This is the second novel by Jonas Jonasson. I enjoyed this one more than his first.The novel opens on a young girl in South Africa, named Nombeko. Her life is full of challenges. She, however, is an optimist, and a survivor. The story follows her from South Africa to Sweden. Along the way she meets three Chinese girls who do not speak her language, the president of the People's Republic of China, twin brothers named Holger One and Holger Two, a potato farming countess, an angry young woman, the king of Sweden, and the prime minister of Sweden. The book is sort of a comedy of circumstances. "If you don't think you have enough problems, you should acquire a mammal in Sweden just hours before you're about to fly home to the other side of the world, and then insist that the animal must travel in your luggage."
  • (3/5)
    Hat so seine längen, bleibt jedenfalls weit hinter dem 100-jährigen zurück
  • (3/5)
    Die hochbegabte Südafrikanerin Nombeko, die mit 14 Jahren die Chefin des Latrinenbüros in Soweto wird, per Zufall an ein Vermögen in Form von Rohdiamanten gerät, kurz darauf von einem Weißen überfahren und daraufhin zu mehreren Jahren Frondiensten in dessen Haushalt verurteilt wird und in dieser Zeit beachtlichen Anteil am Bau mehrerer Atombomben aufweisen kann, ist die Hauptfigur dieser Geschichte. Wie sie sich aus ihren immer neuen misslichen Situationen (in die sie völlig unverschuldet gerät), stets wieder befreien kann, ist schräg und noch schräger. Da wird eine Atombombe quer über die Kontinente verschickt, ein Zwillingspaar Holger und Holger getauft und zu republikanischen Extremisten erzogen, ein König und ein Ministerpräsident entführt und Nombeko ist allzeit mit dabei bzw. darin verwickelt. Der Absurditäten ist kein Ende ;-)
    Was im 'Hundertjährigen' noch einen Hauch von Realität hatte, ist in diesem Buch völlig auf die Spitze getrieben. Die Ereignisse überschlagen sich und eines ist unglaublicher als das andere. Mir ist das Alles ein bisschen zu viel des Guten, denn der Rahmen ist durchaus sehr realitätsnah. Die damaligen Geschehnisse nicht nur in Südafrika, nein, auch in USA, Europa usw. werden wahrheitsgetreu wiedergegeben, sodass sich Nombekos Geschichte dazu als besonders absurd darstellt. Etwas weniger wäre hier vielleicht mehr gewesen :-)
    Jonassons Sprache ist wie bei seinem ersten Buch gewohnt ironisch und indirekt, was die Absurditäten noch verstärkt. So traten bei mir ab ca. der Mitte des Buches gewisse 'Abnutzungserscheinungen' auf. Dennoch: Es ist eine amüsante, wirklich unglaubliche Geschichte, die sich lockerleicht an einem Wochenende weglesen lest.
  • (4/5)
    After enjoying his previous book "The Hundred Year Old Man Who Jumped Out Of The Window and Disappeared" I was keen to read this, his latest. I found it very similar in writing style, but maybe just a little more far-fetched and unbelievable. Yes fiction doesn't mean factual but this stretched my realm of probability just a tad too far. Having said that, I had a few chuckles over the antics and outcomes of the varied characters and enjoyed the tying up of loose strings which left each of these characters, well nearly all of them …with a happy ending.
  • (4/5)
    Jonas Jonasson has a gift for political satire couched in extraordinary tales of endurance and intelligence. His characters are at once completely believable and extraordinary caricatures. You want to believe that people like this really do exist (and sometimes you shudder at the thought). The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden is a story of a girl who started at the bottom but struggled her way up through any means necessary. Hers is a story of patient determination to succeed and attain a happy, "normal" life. Much like the other book of his that I reviewed, this book is a rollicking (and at times quite raunchy) ride from beginning to end. For me, it was a solid 10/10. If you enjoy political satires with a bite then I think you'll enjoy this one.
  • (4/5)
    This is a fun and entertaining read. It's a lot like a Pink Panther movie - ridiculous, slapstick, and involving a lot of ludicrous coincidences. It's total fluff, but it's engaging and fun.
  • (5/5)
    Madcap romp of a sweet story that features a few wonderful characters and touches on much of modern South African and European history... Quite wonderful. By the author of The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window... etc. Both lovely books.
  • (2/5)
    This was so much fun! For the first hundred pages, anyway: it was really compulsive. But by the end, it feels like a very overlong episode of Inspector Gadget: cardboard cutout characters in absurd situations acting in ridiculous ways. With a great deal of chopping, it could still be a great little novella, but most of its 400 pages would have to go.
  • (4/5)
    “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.”Nombeko, born into Soweto’s slums, uses her prodigious mathematical ability to rise out of the latrine sanitation management position she has achieved by age 14, and has the misfortune to be run over by a very drunk nuclear engineer the minute she leaves Soweto. South Africa of the 1970s being what it is, she finds herself alternately helping the engineer with his calculations, and scrubbing his floor. Escape comes in the form of a ticket to Sweden…Much like The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window and Disappeared, the plot for this novel is more than slightly absurd. But that’s fine with me when it’s written as captivatingly as this. The various concepts of a person not existing, accidental creation of a 7th atomic bomb, Sweden’s deeply cautious politics – all feel like Jonassen is making little digs at the world, without taking himself too seriously. Full of incredible (seriously, unbelievable) coincidences and unfortunate events, it’s a captivating read.Nombeko is a wonderful character, somewhat everygirlish but with occasional violent tendencies which amused me. She has the same improbably frequent ideas for getting out of scrapes (but the book wouldn’t be any fun if she wasn’t in scrapes and then didn’t get out of them). Holger One and Two couldn’t be more different, and Celestine and her potato-farming countess grandmother are a fabulous double act.I would very definitely recommend this, particularly if you are stuck in Heathrow for four hours and then on a plane going to the wrong airport.
  • (4/5)
    In einem Satz zusammengefasst, die auch den "Hundertjährigen" gelesen haben: "More of the same". Das ist jetzt nicht wirklich schlecht, weil Jonasson eloquent und witzig zu schreiben weiß und sein teilweise irrealer Plot überrascht ebenso wie zum Schmunzeln anregt. Diesmal reist ein kleines Mädchen (das später zur jungen und noch später zur nicht mehr ganz jungen Frau wird) aus den südafrikanischen Slums um die halbe Welt nach Schweden, um dort den nicht existenten Holger samt seinen republikanischen Zwillingsbruder zu treffen. Im Gepäck hat sie allerdings eine Atombombe und drei Chinesinnen, was die Sache etwa genauso kompliziert werden lässt, wie es die Verwicklungen im "Hundertjährigen" waren. Jonasson garniert das Ganze wieder mit jeder Menge Weltpolitik über mehrere Jahrzehnte. Spannend und lustig zu lesen, aber eben auch "more of the same".
  • (5/5)

    Eine komplexe Geschichte in einer Einfachheit erzählt, die einfach überwältigt. Nach dem „100jährigen …“ schafft es Jonasson natürlich wieder nicht nur einen kurzen Abschnitt aus einem Lebensteil zu erzählen sondern er benötigt vielmehr wieder ein halbes Jahrhundert. Er schafft es, dieses komplett mit Leben zu füllen.

    Die absurden aber für gültige erklärten Realitäten, die in dem Buch vermittelt werden, sind wie Puzzleteile, die früher oder später und zumeist nur irgendwie passgenau ineinander greifen. Das Puzzle löst sich, als ob es das selbstverständlichste auf der Welt wäre, schlussendlich in absoluter Leichtigkeit immer von selbst.
    Mit einfachen Worten schafft es der Autor Ironie mit tieferem Sinn und dem folgenden Nachdenken zu erzeugen. Freunde des Humors von Mario Barth werden sich entsprechend mit diesem Buch sehr schwerer tun – und das ist gut so.

    Übrigens: Das unter selbem Titel erschienene Hörbuch wurde von der großartigen Katharina Thalbach phantastisch eingelesen und ist selbst nach dem „Selberlesen“ immer noch eine Empfehlung wert.

    "Vive la République!" ;)
  • (5/5)
    Jonasson has done it again. The plot is at least as ridiculous as last time, the characters even better. How he can make the most peculiar twists and turns seem just what you would expect is beyond me. The only question I have now is,'When will his next book come out?'Read in German. BTW The German kept to the original title. Much better than the English one.
  • (4/5)
    Wenn man den "Hundertjährigen" kennt, ist auch dieses Buch hier nicht überraschend: Eine junge Südafrikanerin kommt überraschend zu einer Atombombe und versucht zusammen mit ihrem Freund, dem inexistenten Holger, diese wieder los zu werden. Ich fand das Buch anfangs etwas fade, dann aber immer lustiger und interessanter. Kurzweilig!
  • (4/5)
    I really enjoyed this humourous and light-hearted approach to the, at times, ridiculousness of political power.
  • (4/5)
    I gave this book 4 stars due to the admiration I have for JJ’s ability to create such intricate plots. It seems his imagination is really rich and even when he is narrating some apparently random facts, they will lately play a role into another twist of a crazy and improbably probable situation. The humor in this novel is rather subtle, I did not find myself laughing out loud, but I was continuously amused by the story.
    This book will not change your life, but it will make your day more pleasant. There are some interesting political and social comments, cleverly included as part of the narration, showing that JJ is not only an entertainer, but also a quite knowledgeable person when it comes to recent history and politics.
  • (5/5)
    Fun, especially if you want to know the whole story!
  • (3/5)
    Not a bad book, just not entirely my sense of humour, there were times I didn't really get the point and lost what it was about., how ever stil worth the read if you are looking for a book that can distract you.
  • (4/5)
    I have to admit I like this author's style of writing and sense of humour, although it may not be for everyone.
  • (3/5)
    I loved Jonasson's previous book the 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, so had high expectations for this one. I was a little disappointed. There were two separate stories going on and jumping around in time at the beginning so it was a little confusing. Once I got halfway through, I enjoyed the rest of the book. It was a little crazy, quirky and silly, but enjoyable. The main characters are not the most likable, but the situations they get themselves in save the story.
  • (5/5)
    Fantastic story, brilliantly written.
  • (5/5)
    Quirky ,off beat and fun. Follows strong minded Nombeko from life as a 5yr old latrine cleaner in Soweto through myriad improbable and hilarious escapades to Sweden where she teams up with non-existent twin Holger 2 in a desperate bid to rid herself and her adopted country of a non-existent but very real atomic bomb while rescuing the king from Holger 1, an incompetent but very determined revolutionary.
  • (4/5)
    Same author as the 100 year old man who climbed out the window and disappeared. A romp where you need to suspend reality a bit but fun.
  • (5/5)
    This book is very good and very entertaining. Jonasson has the knowledge of each countries and put his wild, crazy imagination in making up a story that you can actually picture it happen. Some people looks really thick in this book, but they do exist in the real world. Some part cynical, some part honest, I guarantee you will laugh all the way until you finish the book.
  • (4/5)
    I loved this book! It was crazy and clever and funny and I adored the characters, even the annoying ones. I have no idea how Jonasson dreamed up a plot like this, but he's a genius. I will seek out his other books. I can't imagine how there could be another book as purely entertaining as this one, but I'm hopeful!
  • (5/5)
    I adored this book. I adored the clever interwoven historical storylines. It's not quite as fantastic as the One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window, but its close. You cannot go wrong if you take this away for a holiday reading. The influence of fate, timing, karma, whatever you call it, cannot be ignored. And this book is full of it.
  • (4/5)
    Funny lighthearted farce

    This is the story of Nombeko, who stars life emptying latrines in the Johannesburg slums, and through luck, courage and intelligence ends up in a completely different place. Along the way we meet Swedish twins who share a identity if not a worldview , three Chinese sisters who are expert art forgers, a potato farming countess and her anarchist granddaughter, and of course the king of Sweden.
  • (3/5)
    Loved the beginning but then it was a bit much
  • (4/5)
    I really enjoyed this humourous and light-hearted approach to the, at times, ridiculousness of political power.
  • (3/5)
    Amusing story but very quirky. The characters were interesting and the plot was intriguing – a poor South African girl who’s a math genius escapes from enforced servitude to prevent the assassination of the King of Sweden. There was plenty of political and social commentary on the state of the world, details about the folly of politicians and bureaucrats, and information on South African policy and Swedish heads of state, too much in all. We also get a lot of background on major and minor characters, most of which is quite humorous. Unfortunately, some of them are just too stupid to be believable and turn into comic book characters performing in a slapstick comedy of errors. For example, one falls out of a plane, lands in a haystack, misses the pitchfork in the haystack, and survives to tell the tale. There are way too many of these improbable, tall tales that became silly, then boring, and finally repetitious. Even though Jonasson gives us a happy ending with all the loose strings tied up, even that was too far-fetched. And by the way, the title is a bit misleading because the heroine doesn’t actually save the king of Sweden; I’ll leave it at that so I don’t spoil the ending for you.