Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden

The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden
by Jonas Jonasson
Ecco Press, 2014. 387 pages. Fiction.

How does an illiterate black girl from the slums of Soweto, South Africa in the 1960s end up saving the King of Sweden from republicans with an atomic bomb in 2007? Meet Nombeko Mayeki, who starts life as a sanitation expert at the ripe old age of 5 and soon finds herself (and her expert mathematical skills) as the cleaning lady to a nuclear engineer with no mathematical knowledge and a mandate to build 6 nuclear bombs. Confused yet? Just add 2 Mossad agents, identical twins Holger (One) and Holger (Two) who were raised to avenge their father's shocking disgrace at the hand (and cane) of Gustaf V of Sweden, three expert Chinese forgers, a faux countess, and a very angry young woman to the mix to make Nombeko's journey to Sweden and her destiny unforgettable.

This book is a farce in the truest sense of the word. All of Jonasson's characters find themselves in absurd situations that serve to point out the problematic nature of society and government at all levels. Both humorous and insightful, this book will make you both laugh and think as Nombeko tries again and again to bring the world to rights. The author does use a lot of strong language.


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