The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden is Jonasson's second book. Anyone who has seen a couple of my videos will know that I absolutely loved The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, which is his first book, so when I came across The Girl, I absolutely had to pick it up.
In my reviews, I usually provide a brief summary of the story. However, that's not so easy for this book! Similar to The Hundred-Year-Old Man, it contains several storylines which incorporate different locations, sets of characters, and decades. I will give it a go, though.
The story continues to get more complicated from there, involving an atomic bomb that was never supposed to exist and a Swedish boy/man named Holger Two, who is legally the same person as his twin brother, Holger One. It also features some heavy criticism on South African politics and, of course, apartheid. In The Girl, Jonasson takes a much stronger stance on politics than he did in his first book, even though that one also featured some 'questionable' regimes. At times, this distracted me from the actual story.
Besides politics, another important theme in the book is identity. The most obvious example of this is Holger Two, who has always felt like a second-rate human, barely a person, even though he is clearly the smarter one of the twins. I felt that part of the message of The Girl is that sitting around waiting for the right circumstances to come along won't get you anywhere: you can reclaim your identity and make something of yourself, but you have to make that happen.
The style of the narration and the absurdity of the story are quite similar to The Hundred-Year-Old Man, which at times made me feel as if Jonasson simply knows a trick, and is using it again and again. That being said, though, I did enjoy the book: the story is interesting and of course the book is great fun to read.
Watch this review as a video: