Swede Lit: The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden

A very dear friend of mine is Swedish and is always trying to get me to improve on my Swedish language skills so that I can move there and be near her forever.

So far I can say “my name is Eva” and “trick or treat” so I’m really getting somewhere.

But she lets all this go if I just keep reading Swedish literature. This week I gained some more points reading Jonas Jonasson’s follow up to The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.


The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden combines some of my favourite things: royalty, Swedes and sarcasm. In it we meet Nombeko, born in the slums of Soweto in South Africa, who manages to learn how to read before being put in charge of a sanitation facility at the age of 12 until she runs away to Johannesburg where she is hit by a car driven by a drunk engineer. Since it was her fault he hit her (she was on the sidewalk after all) she is sentenced to 9 years of servitude at the engineer’s nuclear weapons facility. The engineer is a complete halfwit so it falls to Nombeko to undertake diplomatic relations, handle the Mossad and work out the nuclear calculations necessary to be in charge of a nuclear weapons facility.

Eventually she ends up in Sweden where her life becomes intertwined with twins, Holger One and Holger Two. One is obsessed with deposing the monarchy while Two doesn’t technically exist but was dealt all the brains in the family.

Once again Jonasson has created an unlikely cast of characters, deeply flawed but a total delight. This time most of them were idiots but that didn’t make it any less enjoyable to spend time with them. He also comes up with a string of plans and plots, each more unlikely than the next, most doomed to fail.

I was personally delighted when His Majesty, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden himself made a completely ridiculous and charming appearance in the book. It left me wondering if he has read the book or is even aware of it and if so, what does he think? Can someone find out for me?

Jonasson has clearly perfected the art of the mad cap adventure, leading readers through a host of impossible scenarios before delivering a perfectly wrapped up ending. There are very few sarcastic authors out there – it’s not easy to convey sarcasm without tone of voice – but Jonasson is among the best.


Paperback Princess Loves New Paperbacks!

I really do. I’m not sure when I started holding out in favour of paperbacks (probably around the time when I realized that being an adult is expensive!) but that’s my general MO these days.

So it delights me to be able to bring you all a list of fabulous books that have recently been turned into ready-to-love paperbacks. You know, so that you can start filling up your beach bags and lake totes with great books. So that when you are planning a picnic, you will have a list of books that you can stash in your basket.

I’ve been tricked before by news that the paperback version of Gone Girl was going to be released shortly. But now I’ve seen it with my own two eyes so it’s official. Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl is finally in paperback. Just in time for those of you that still haven’t read it to get to it before the movie’s release this fall. Seriously though, read this book.

The follow up to the JK Rowling-as-Robert-Galbraith penned The Cuckoo’s Calling is coming out this June. For those of you that can’t read The Silkworm until you’ve been introduced to Cormoran Strike properly, get thee to a bookstore for a copy of the freshly printed paperback!

The other day I waxed poetic about the perfection of the Paris: The Novel paperback and mentioned that Edward Rutherfurd’s previous city novels didn’t share this flawlessness. But then I went to the bookstore and lo and behold! Perfect paperbacks of London, New York and Russka. So if you’re in the market for that most perfect paperback but didn’t think Paris was your style? Now you have no excuse.

Remember how I loved The Circle by Dave Eggers? I thought it was a most excellent imagining of what could happen to the world if we’re not careful with the direction that social media is taking. It was a big ol’ beast of a book though so I can’t blame you if you wanted to wait for a more portable edition. Your time has come.

Finally, Harper Collins has done us the massive favour of publishing Jonas Jonasson’s brand new book, The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden in paperback right off the bat. I loved his debut novel The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (so did millions of others around the world) and I’m so very excited to crack this baby. Even though technically I’m on a book buying ban, my other half wasn’t there to see me so it totally doesn’t count.

There you go! A list of paperbacks to inspire some book cravings; you know you want to.