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The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an IKEA Wardrobe

(Fakir Patel #1)

3.29  ·  Rating details ·  10,329 ratings  ·  1,511 reviews
For readers of The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, a funny, charming, feel-good story about a fake fakir from India who arrives in France to shop at IKEA and unwittingly embarks on a European tour like no other.
     Meet Ajatashatru Oghash Rathod. One day a fakir leaves his small village in India and lands in Paris. A professional con artist,
Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 5th 2014 by Random House Canada (first published August 21st 2013)
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Average rating 3.29  · 
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 ·  10,329 ratings  ·  1,511 reviews

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Ell Eastwood
FUCK THIS BOOK. Like, literally, just FUCK IT. I am tempted to fucking ILLEGALLY DOWNLOAD IT just so I cant print that shit out and burn it, so I get the satisfaction of destroying it while also not giving the author any money. THAT'S HOW MUCH I HATE IT.

It's racist, transphobic and sexist, but most of all RACIST all the fucking time. And I wish I could say "oh, it's well-written and funny, such a shame with all the racism", but NO it's NOT funny, it's not well-written, it has nothing going for i
Jun 16, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ha-ha-humour
Actually quite a funny book, that managed to not only make me laugh, but put out some really clever and telling thought provoking comments on immigration! Yes a comedy about (illegal) immigration! 7 out of 12.

2015 read
Tea Jovanović
Funny and entertaining... One of those books that are either loved or hated... :) Serbian rights sold, translation expected next year :)
Kirt Callahan
Sep 29, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What a huge disappointment this was. Jonas Jonasson should be insulted by the comparisons to his work. It is poorly written, or poorly translated (I suspect a bit of both), and it is certainly poorly edited. On top of all of that it is profoundly unfunny. The French are famous for their, how do you say, "different" sense of humour (Jerry Lewis?), so a French person might find this novel hilarious. I did not. It was full of obvious, winking, elbow in the ribs attempts at humour that never quite w ...more
On the face of it this is a light hearted and slightly silly book in the same style as the Hundred Year Old Man. We have a semi-Swedish setting (OK so it's a French Ikea, but I did say semi-Swedish), we have an insanely long title and we have an unlikely tale that spans continents and draws in a wide range of characters. The Fakir of the title cons his village into getting him a ticket to Paris so he can visit an Ikea and buy a new bed of nails, having conned a Parisian taxi driver and holed awa ...more
Nov 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Light but so funny. Good antedote after a big read (like luminairies or gold finch). So if you wanted a bed of nails for your fakir act and you lived in Jaipur, Rajasathan where would you go? Clue? Same place you go if you want a normal bed - Of course! And so starts the unbelievable trip of the Indian with the unpronouceable name (translated through multiple hysterical illiterations) to Paris and then elsewhere (some of the time in an Ikea armoir). A good laugh and a nice fairy tale for grown-u ...more
“A heart is a little bit like a large wardrobe” — Ajatashatru Oghash Rathod

The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe (or L’extraordinaire voyage du fakir qui était resté coincé dans une armoire Ikea) is the debut novel by Romain Puértolas that has been marketed to fans of The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared (or Hundraåringen som klev ut genom fönstret och försvann) by Jonas Jonasson. For the purpose of making things easier (and
This book came highly recommended, described as an hilarious fantasy. I did not smile once while reading it and only managed not to grind down my teeth, thanks to the other passengers sharing the train wagon with me that day.
A few days after reading that awful book, whose only merit lies in its shortness, I finally understood what the humour reminded me of and why I hated it so much.
There's a very strong taste in this book of Borat, the supposedly hilariously funny movie about that Uzbek mousta
Krittika Mittal
Feb 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Oh wow. Took me three months to finish this book. Anyways, this was a total cover buy for me. The name of the book was just so intriguing, I had to buy it and had to read it. The book started off hilariously. I was literally lapping up every word, written in the book. But then the hidden racism, (yep, it's there) started getting to me. You could also say I took it a little personally, being an Indian and all.

I wonder who was responsible for all the conversions of Ajatashatru? I'm certain it was
Nov 25, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm confused.

While I like some of the wordplay and wit, the references to immigration and the all-round human angle, I'm deeply disturbed by the way the 'good countries' are depicted juxtaposed against the rest of the world. The author paints an exotic picture of India with maharajas and snakes, bed of nails and the fakir. Really? Weird Buddha and Shiva references. This is not just lazy writing, but a very privileged and if I may use the word, 'colonial' voice from which the story is narrated.
Feb 24, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not bad..The author got a lot of imagination and a good sense of humor that makes reading the novel enjoyable. Easy and quick read for a little funny and crazy novel of an Indian fakir travelling to the Ikea store in Paris..
Apr 23, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: it-is-okay
The ideas of this story is interesting and highly unusual, but I lost interest in the middle of the book, I don't mean to say it is a badly written book, it just doesn't hold my interest much. ...more
Bob H
Nov 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
(NOTE: This is a review of the English-language edition, due out in print in January 2015)

"The first word spoken by the Indian man Ajatashatru Oghash Rathod upon his arrival in France was, oddly enough, a Swedish word. Ikea. That was what he said in a quiet voice."

Thus spoken to a taxi driver at the airport, and thus begins an astonishing debut novel, and the start of a madcap journey across several countries. Oghash has come to Paris with only a counterfeit 100-euro note (printed on only one si
Dec 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this story about a fakir from India who travels to Paris to visit an IKEA store to buy a nail bed. He comes with a counterfeit 100 Euro bill printed only on one side and a desire to get in and out of Paris as quickly as possible. Nothing goes according to plan. In a humorous and quirky way, he visits London, Rome and Libya. Along the way he makes an enemy who tracks him, great friends trying to emigrate anywhere and befriends a famous actress. Hard to believe? You bet but very funny.

May 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books
Done reading this lovely, comical book! Thoroughly enjoyed it! Its ridiculously laugh-out-loud-type hilarious at many points and has sooo much depth for such a light read too! It's a colorful book - set on dark circumstances! The author and his career as an immigration officer/border police/fraud document officer clearly has influenced his writing and sheds a lot of light on immigrants and illegals and their perilous journey to get to better and "good countries". I simply cannot WAIT to watch th ...more
Feb 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
*1,5 stars

Maybe I'm being a little harsh with the rating, but unfortunately I found this extremely boring and repetitive. I appreciate the author’s good intentions, but you can’t tackle complicated subjects like the refugee crisis and racism in such an overly simplistic way. Also, for a book which tries so hard to preach that every human being is worthy of a better future and respect, it surely is filled with too many stereotypes and prejudices.
Lost potential; that pretty much sums it up.
Maria Carmo
A very interesting story, full of humor and with a distinctive style. It is a refreshing story of travel, loss, adventure and the rediscovery of life and love. Enchanting and tender, full of humanity.

Maria Carmo,

Lisbon 17 September 2014.
Syazwanie Winston Abdullah
Extraordinary indeed. The ending was a bit rushed, I felt. It left me turning the pages back and forth for a bit.
Feb 03, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Is it okay to call a book "sweet"? Because that is what comes to mind with this humorous light romp of a story that kind of grabs you and propels you along, even as it delves into serious topics such as illegal immigration to Europe and personal redemption. I can see why this was such a hit in France and I am delighted it was translated. ...more
Feb 20, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The book seemed funny from the title and beginning, but along the way proved itself pretentious, written by a biased author who clearly does not have a clue about half of what he is writing. It also tried too hard to be funny, what clearly, proves the opposite generally. I read it until the end, but disliked it more and more as it approached.
Jun 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick paced and well plotted, but less funny then it thinks it is and also bordering on racist at times.
Athul Domichen
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Long name. Short read. Super fun.

Ahmad Shuhait
Jan 23, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
i wasted my time
i don't know how it was recognized as the best in 2015
Stefan Studen
Nov 11, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am not posting reviews like my friend and popular blogger Endy Kupec but this time I need cause this is one of the worst books I have ever read.Something what 6 years old kid would write.Bad sense of humor and boring style of writting.I regret every second of waste on this criminal piece of garbage.
Karen O'Brien-Hall
This is the silliest book I’ve read in many a year and I loved it!
The hero of this unlikely story is Ajatashatru Oghash Rathod and he offers this bit of philosophy at the beginning of his story “A heart is a little like a large wardrobe”.
If you are having some difficulty in pronouncing this illustrious name, do not worry you will find many attempts in the course of the novel such as A¬-jar-of-rat-stew¬-oh-gosh.
Our hero is a Fakir, who has conned his small village in India into believing his “sup
Aug 04, 2014 rated it did not like it
Fast paced farcical adventure that played out like a classic sitcom or an old Steve Martin movie.

This book has taken the world by storm following its French release last year. Back with an English translation, The Extraordinary Journey is set to be a pretty high profile read this summer - the covert art and engaging title pretty much ensure it! However, for me, it was just okay.

The situations that arise are ridiculous and far fetched but it's fun and endearing if you're in the right mood for it
Alex Dolan
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Note—The English version of this book is "The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe." I want to make sure that Engish-speaking audiences know how to find this book, because they should.

I grew up reading a lot of Tom Robbins, and the things I love about this book share many qualities with Tom Robbins novels. It has a sense of whimsey and imagination. Most important, it is unquestionably original. You're not going to read a version of this story anywhere else.

Penny McGill
I didn't love this book. I thought I would love this book. It seemed like the author was taking advantage of and poking fun and way too many people who had lives of incredibly dire circumstances and I was never able to stop thinking about that. I enjoyed the main character and am pleased by the way things turned out for him - felt happy when he was able to escape some sticky situations and eventually find love - but perhaps the sense of humour of this author does not match mine?

I hesitated a gre
Eric Wright
Sep 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
The story of this unfortunate--or fortunate--fakir is a refreshing and hilarious romp from one country to another by unexpected vehicles. He flies to France knowing only that he wants to buy a new bed of nails at Ikea. He pays the gipsy taxi driver with a fake 50 Euro note printed on only one side that, by a slight of hand, he retrieves and disappears in the store.

In the store he meets Marie! And since the bed of nails can't be delivered to the next day and he has no money to stay in a hotel, he
Jan 27, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book extremely hard to finish. Mostly because every time the author attempted humour (which was limited to pronouncing the main character's name intentionally wrong) I felt like ending it...my life, I mean. Seriously! These are the attempts at humour: "Ajatashatru (pronounced: a-cat-in-a-bat-suit.....a-jar-of-rat-stew....a-jackal-that-ate-you)". And it goes on and on. I'm impressed that he could tell this joke 900 times in 300 pages. At least the paper it was printed on was as recyc ...more
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Romain Puértolas was born in Montpellier and has lived in France, Spain and the U.K., where he has been a DJ, singer-songwriter, language teacher, translator-interpreter and steward. He has been working as a police inspector with the French border service, specialising in document fraud. The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir... was a #1 bestseller in France and has been sold to 35 countries.

Other books in the series

Fakir Patel (2 books)
  • Les nouvelles aventures du Fakir au pays d'Ikea

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26 likes · 2 comments
“Il voyait déjà le best-seller sur les étagères des plus grosses librairies, traduit en trente-deux langues, dont l'ayapaneco, ancien dialecte mexicain qui n'était plus parlé que par deux personnes au monde, qui ne savaient pas lire.” 3 likes
“Para alguém de um país ocidental com tendência democrática, o senhor Ikea desenvolvera um conceito comercial no mínimo insólito: a visita forçada ao seu estabelecimento.
Assim, se quisesse aceder à zona de self-service situada no rés do chão, o cliente era obrigado a subir ao primeiro andar, percorrer um gigantesco e interminável corredor que serpenteava entre quartos, salas e cozinhas em exposição, cada espaço mais bonito do que o anterior, passar por um restaurante aliciante, comer umas almôndegas ou wraps de salmão e só depois descer à secção de vendas para finalmente efetuar as suas compras. Em suma, uma pessoa que quisesse comprar três parafusos e duas cavilhas saía quatro horas depois com uma cozinha equipada e uma boa indigestão.
Os suecos, pessoas muito previdentes, tinham inclusive desenhado uma linha amarela no chão para indicar o caminho a seguir, não fosse dar-se o caso de um visitante ter a má ideia de se desviar do rumo certo.”
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