Saturday, 30 August 2014

Book: The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden

Even though I love books, I must admit that I'm not an avid reader of Scandinavian (including Finnish) literature. And it is a shame.

This weekend I have dedicated a great deal of time to a book whose English title reads The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden. The author, Jonas Jonasson, gained a lot of popularity across Europe with his first novel The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. 

This second novel was a good read. In all its simplicity (as in simple and straightforward language) and fantasy (the plot), it manages to entwine local problems, global issues, history and politics into laugh-out-loud food for thought. What amazes me the most about this writer is his vast knowledge in global affairs and foreign lands. The weakness of the book? Perhaps the somewhat simple language, at times.

Interested in what the book is about? Here is what the publisher Harper Collins has to say:

On June 14th, 2007, the King and Prime Minister of Sweden went missing from a gala banquet at the Royal Castle. Later it was said that both had fallen ill: the truth is different. The real story starts much earlier, in 1961, with the birth of Nombeko Mayeki in a shack in Soweto. Nombeko was fated to grow up fast and die early in her poverty-stricken township. But Nombeko takes a different path. She finds work as a housecleaner and eventually makes her way up to the position of chief advisor, at the helm of one of the world's most secret projects. 
Here is where the story merges with, then diverges from reality. South Africa developed six nuclear missiles in the 1980s, then voluntarily dismantled them in 1994. This is a story about the seventh missile . . . the one that was never supposed to have existed. Nombeko Mayeki knows too much about it, and now she's on the run from both the South African justice and the most terrifying secret service in the world. She ends up in Sweden, which has transformed into a nuclear nation, and the fate of the world now lies in Nombeko's hands. 

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