The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson

24th June 2014

 

Just like the One Hundred Year Old Man, this book is an extremely enjoyable read as it gallops through the last 50 years or so of history. This time the focus is on South Africa and Sweden. There are some common elements with the one Hundred Year Old man, nuclear weapons, world leader reduced to human beings, an irreverent take on history and Jonasson’s view of liberal humanity. There is a cartoonish quality to thi romp through history, but this does not detract from the enjoyment of the book.

Nombeko is a South African woman, born into poverty during Apartheid. We first meet Nombeko as a 14 year old girl working in a latrine facility. Life is not kind to Nombeko, and injustice haunts her very existence. But Nombeko has great intelligence, a capacity to wait and a resolve to make the best out of the hand that life deals her. She ends up as the guardian of a nuclear bomb accompanied by an assortment of characters who are as odd as she is. Oh yes, she is pursued by Mossad agents who want the bomb and her death.

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