Jonas Jonasson is mostly famous for his debut The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared. This is his second book and it is written in the same, rather hilarious fashion. This time his main character is Nombeko Mayeki, who grows up in Soweto in South Africa. Among her many talents is the possibility to count, and I am not talking about 1+1 = 2! She manages much more complicated calculations.
This talent takes her from the very poor surroundings, through a high security scientific research centre in South Africa to Sweden and the immigration facilities. Here starts a series of random events that involves security services, police, outcasts of the society, well-known people and even the king of Sweden.
A totally unbelievable story, that after all could be true in theory! What I like about his books is the way he approaches his characters; the description of people outside the society, not really fitting in, but they find their niche in life and make something out of it. We are not all what we seem to be, and we do not all have to fit into a template of how we should act and be. I think that is the main idea of Jonasson’s books and he tells it in a charming way.
I am a little bit confused over the English title The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden. The original title is (my free translation) The Illiterate Who Could Count. But that is life!