The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden: A Book Review


photo courtesy amazon.ccom

If you like humour, history and a bit of serenditpity mixed with characters that you’d like to believe were fantasy but you know people like them so you are willing to believe then you’d more than likely enjoy this delightful novel written by Jonas Jonasson.

The stye reminds me of Bill Bryson with his wit and ironical view of history. A quote by an unknown “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.” sums up this tale of an orphaned girl, Nombeko, from Soweto (the genius) due to the stupidity of others educates herself, becomes the manager of the Soweto latrine business, becomes wealthy only to be run over by the head scientist of South Africa’s atomic bomb program and is indentured to him. Her genius makes her invaluable to him (as he is stupid) but it also puts her at great risk.

A second story runs parallel to this – the adoration of the King of Sweden by a Swedish postal worker but this sours when the king bonks him on the head with his walking cane and he spends the rest of his life trying to put an end to the monarchy. To this end only one of his identical twins is registered as having been born. Again one is genius, the other stupid.

Finally we see Nombeko arrive in Sweden, meeting and falling in love with the non-existent twin along with a huge crate that has to be got rid of. This takes a deal of time and some fantastical events. Serendipity at its best.

Would I recommend this unlikely tale. Yes I would but with a warning that about three quarters of the way through it seems to hit a patch that it would be easy to leave it at that point. My husband did. I continued on and the ending was worth any ploughing I had to do. I particularly loved reliving the history of the time and watching how cleverly it was woven into a story that was as unlikely (or was it) as it was funny. A lovely piece of quirk.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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6 Responses to The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden: A Book Review

  1. I’m glad you reviewed this. I sort of skipped over it after reading the 100 year old man, but I’ll give it a try. Jonas is a very prolific writer, light and funny. Nice review!


  2. What a great way to describe a book – “A lovely piece of quirk!” It really does sound unusual and interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Charli Mills says:

    Sounds like a wonderfully quirky and fun read, Irene. I love this quote: “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.”

    Liked by 1 person

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