Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All: Jonas Jonasson, August 1—11, 2016
My rating: ♦♦♦♦◊
Hooray! A new Jonas Jonasson book!
It’s exactly as madcap and bizarre as you’d hope for and expect. On this occasion, we have a core cast of three: a receptionist, a priest, and a hitman recently released from prison. An enterprise begins and, well, as ever with Jonasson, it all goes a bit wonky.
Jonasson’s writing style is as irrelevant and witty as always, with sharp observations and catty summations of his own plot that can make anything sound ridiculous – let alone that which already is. Naming the protagonist Per Persson, taking the absolute proverbial out of its composition, and name-dropping himself for purely self-deprecating reasons, earns him a tip of the hat. Having the brass neck to acknowledge a repetitive element by identifying that characters are “essentially back in chapter 16 of this story” deserves applause.
The story itself is yet again utterly ridiculous, hopelessly implausible, and yet committed to paper nonetheless. Jonasson specialises in creating a situation and letting the story run away without a handbrake, to the point it cannot be stopped. Everyone is so deep in, they have to stick with it, however bizarre it becomes.
It’s not without its flaws. It’s much, much slower to start than his previous endeavours, and the pace is never at quite the break-neck speed you might be hoping for. And while we all adore his way with words, more than once it feels he’s taking twenty words to say what he could have said in two to pad it out, and the joke does wear a bit thin. Let’s not betray art for commercialism, JJ.
With his tongue firmly in his cheek, Jonasson produces another hilarious rollercoaster of a ride that serves only to warn you what can become of your life if it gets into the hands of a slightly unhinged but undeniably genius author. Excellent.