Menu
Menu
Search
Search
Search
Close

The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson

We have gathered all the fantastic reviews our Book Club Members have sent us this month.

Click on each name to read the review. If you would like to become part of the Viking Book Club, sign up here >>

Expand All Collapse All

Sandra Tipper

What a hoot! Very similar in style, storyline and humour to his previous novel The 100 Year Old Man…, and particularly witty and funny for those of us who can remember world events from the 1960s onwards, Jonas Jonasson weaves a fantastical story around true historical events – albeit with huge liberties!

From the slums of Soweta to the Royalty of Sweden – all human nature is here but in a very irreverent style that has no pomposity or need for scholarship from the reader – just a sense of the ridiculous. The characters are wonderfully alive and even though I would never want to meet them, I had to read to the end as I had to know what happened to each and every one.

I kept laughing aloud and reading this book added great enjoyment and sunshine to an already sunny August holiday. A story to lose yourself in particularly when one has plenty of time as it is a shame to put it down.

Eileen North

To be honest, I was not sure about this book when I first received it. I’m a crime / mystery novel reader by preference. However within a short time I found it a very easy read, ideal as a holiday read. There was a smile on my face all the while I was reading this book and at times I was giggling to myself! The style is rather conversational with little description of the scenery; the turns of phrase used are at times quaint and amusing.

Based on the life of Nombeko Mayeki, a twelve year old black girl from Soweto, the story starts in 1973, in apartheid South Africa. In its course we meet several unusual characters, including the King of Sweden. We also get history, political and economic lessons along the way phrased very simplistically and in a matter-of-fact manner. Nombeko finds herself in some unusual situations. She plots out her ideas but as they say ‘the best laid plans…’

I hope you will enjoy The Girl Who Saved The King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson as much as I did. I now want to read his other book The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window and Disappeared.

Denise Reed

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 travel in your luggage’. (page 393)

If the reader got to that point then it would be with relief to know the trek through this densely written book was almost at an end. The give-away title provided no incentive to read past the first pages. The main character, improbably pragmatic Nombeko, underpinned the best of the plot lines, worth skimming huge chunks of the intervening narrative. A level of interest in international political minutia is assumed and necessary to appreciate much of the humour woven into this highly implausible story.

Not a page-turner, some amusing one-liners and entertaining, unlikely scenarios intermittently illuminate the text. In summary, ‘all’s well that ends well…’

Andrew Poultney

There can’t be too many novels where the main characters include an illiterate latrine emptier from the Town ships of Soweta and the family of a Devout Scandinavian Royalist. Throw in a couple of Mossad Secret agents and a rogue nuclear weapon and you have a bizarre, fast paced witty story, full of wonderful dark humour with twists and turns a plenty.

Jonas Jonasson’s tale blends cultural and racial issues, cleverly connecting them with world events from the past five decades. All this whilst dragging in real life World figures such as President PW Botha, Jimmy Carter through to (as the title suggests) King Carl XVI Gustaf, the current day King of Sweden. The star however is the loveable Nombeka, who we meet as a 5 year old, following her incredible adventures, seemingly always winning against all the odds.

The plot of the book may be too farcical for some readers as it does stretch the limits of common sense in quite a number of places. However looking past this, its eccentric character, the inter relationships and the consequences of their actions provide light hearted trivial fun amidst the more serious subjects of Apartheid, underhanded Government dealings and Social rebellion.

Alison Monro

This is a gripping story from the very first page. A cast of the most improbably characters come together to lead us through an incredible and exciting romp which has a background of very well researched historical basis. But much more than that, it is a highly entertaining story which will make you laugh out loud on numerous occasions. Nombeko, the main character, is the most resourceful, inventive and intelligent young woman and as her life evolves we are lead into many strange situations. How they are resolved becomes more and more intriguing. It also leads the reader to ponder over the possibility that such shenanigans really might take place at the top levels of politics and espionage. I particularly liked the King of Sweden and his prime minister. It would be wonderful to think that such characters could really exist. I commend to you Jonas Jonasson, the author, and, now that I have found him, cannot wait to read his other works, past and future!

Caroline Loveland

This is the story of Nembeko, a young South African girl and her adventures with an atomic bomb. An unlikely combination you might think but, as it turns out, a hilarious one. Jonasson weaves Nembeko’s tale through historical world events and international connections with the Israeli Mossad, Chinese government, antique counterfeiters and potato farming with a Swedish Countess.

Nembeko, a very intelligent and gifted mathematician begins what ought to have been a short and hard life in Johannesburg working in the Sanitation department. However, the story swiftly weeps her up as she is run over by a drunken engineer. Life takes a further unexpected turn after Nembeko escapes South Africa to Sweden, along with an atom bomb which doesn’t exist and three happy go lucky Chinese girls who are not really sensible choices for managing the post room. When she arrives in Sweden, Nembeko meets two brothers called Holger and things start to get very complicated indeed as they try to contact the King of Sweden.

Jonasson has a style of humour which while very black is insightful and sharp; you can’t help but laugh out loud.

Jan Williams

Scandi-gloom? This is not it.

As a teacher I used often to let my children choose three cards from a box. On each would be written the name of an object or a place. It was their task to write a story containing all three. This book, The Girl Who Saved The King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson, reminded me of that exercise. I have to confess that, although this author’s first book is on my Kindle, I have not got round to reading it. I shall now because I have laughed my way through this one.

The heroine, Nombeko, was born in a shack in Soweto in 1961. Feisty hardly describes this highly numerate and intelligent girl. She is just one of the bizarre characters one meets. There are the three Chinese sisters, the twins who are officially one person and the potato farmer. International relations, luck and love are all part of this tale. It’s a great read for a vacation!

Top