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The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  52,241 ratings  ·  4,974 reviews
Just because the world ignores you, doesn’t mean you can’t save it . . .

Nombeko Mayeki was never meant to be a hero. Born in a Soweto shack, she seemed destined for a short, hard life. But now she is on the run from the world ‘s most ruthless secret service, with three Chinese sisters, twins who are officially one person and an elderly potato farmer. Oh, and the fate of th
Paperback, 421 pages
Published April 24th 2014 by Fourth Estate (first published 2013)
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bookonio Much better than "the hundred year old man" . I laughed more , I liked the characters more , I enjoyed the story more . …moreMuch better than "the hundred year old man" . I laughed more , I liked the characters more , I enjoyed the story more . (less)
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Average rating 3.77  · 
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 ·  52,241 ratings  ·  4,974 reviews

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Ahmad Sharabiani
Analfabeten Som Kunde Räkna = The Girl Who Saved The King of Sweden‭, Jonas Jonasson

The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden is a Swedish novel written by Jonas Jonasson. The book was first published in 2013, as the second novel of the author, after the best-selling The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.

In 1961, Nombeko Mayeki is born a poor black girl in Soweto. She leaves the slums and a twist of fate – she is run over but survives – puts her into the employ of the
Myriam Schärz
Feb 24, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was so bad it was a real chore trying to finish reading it that turned almost into agony. What a waste of precious time much better spent picking your nose, getting drunk all alone or sorting dust into similarly colored piles.
Loved his first book! Laughed so many times and still remember it vividly as if I had seen it as a movie. This here on the other hand is not funny. Not once. Not even remotely.
I loved Allen and liked most of the other characters in the 100 year old. Here I didn't
Jan 01, 2021 rated it liked it
Jonas Jonasson’s debut novel, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared was a masterpiece of black humor. I was awed by how absurd and funny it was. It set the bar high for any follow up. Unfortunate, the Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden could not even come close to the level I was expecting from the author. The humor was there, the same kind of absurd plot involving politics and world known leaders but it failed to come alive. I do not know why but I did not care for the ...more
switterbug (Betsey)
May 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
What a festival of adventure, rogue behavior, a non-existent twin who exists, and a fugitive atomic bomb that also doesn't exist--but weighs several megatons and is very difficult to hide. The plucky and delightful protagonist is Nombeko, who at the start of the novel is fourteen and cleaning latrines in Soweto, her hometown. It is the seventies, and apartheid is the social/political/economic cloud Nombeko lives under, and yet she makes the best of her situation, and eventually saves the world. ...more
May 22, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
At almost exactly halfway through the book, it became taxing to read. The wit and quirky characters were replaced with improbable scenarios. It was as if a lazier, time crunched writer completed a very well begun piece of literature.
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am giving the book a rating of 3.5!

I had started the book with very high expectations. Why shouldn’t I! The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared had raised my expectations to another level. For the most part the book did not disappoint.

I became a fan of Nombeko. Now who is she? She is the protagonist of this novel - the girl who would ultimately save the king of Sweden. She is a remarkable character. Born in abject poverty in South Africa, she had to relentlessly
Jun 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: ha-ha-humour
This is way too close in style and structure to his previous book The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. This is more or less the life and incredible adventures of a destitute, but very very smart Black South African woman, as she progresses from a sanitation works in South Africa during Apartheid to saving the King of Sweden in Sweden. 6 out of 12.
Jun 24, 2014 rated it liked it
This book suffers a bit from comparing it with The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared which was delightful in all respects. This follow up is also entertaining and quirky but never quite as charming. It is also quite a lot too long and the middle section is very, very slow. I especially enjoyed Nombeka and sometimes felt there was not enough of her and too much of others. Nevertheless I did enjoy much of the book and can imagine it being made in to a movie like it ...more
Apr 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: five-star-books
What do you get when you combine a South African woman named Nombeko who is born into the slums of Soweto only to be smart enough to make fools of her oppressors with her intelligence and finds her way to Sweden? When there she meets a man who theoretically does not exist and who has a twin brother with the same name who is inspired to complete what his late father could not do and kill the king of Sweden. Throw in the crazy brothers equally crazy girlfriend, the Prime Minister of Sweden, Chines ...more
Tea Jovanović
Second novel is rarely as good as the first one (Khaled Hosseini is the exception) as publishers expect too much and there is a special "pressure" on the author if the debut novel is great success... Sheila O'Flanagan wrote the good, honnest review I support 100%. ...more
May 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone looking for a humor-filled book
This is a concatenation of outrageous improbabilities peopled by cartoonish characters capering across Potemkinesque landscapes. The story opens in Soweto with Nombeko, a fourteen year old latrine emptier (yes, that's this child's lifelong occupation, and she's one of the lucky ones who actually has a job). When her alcoholic boss gives some attitude to the wrong person, their pompous superior Piet du Toit appoints Nombeko as the new manager. Her first act is to hire her disgraced boss as her ow ...more
Mar 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not my usual 4* novel. Really, it deserves less, but I smiled most of the way through it. The story is convoluted and completely mad but was easy to read. The characters were so off the wall, they made the story possible. A totally nonsensical book that holds within it some interesting pictures of human nature and humanity.
Sep 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let's say 4.25 stars.

This book is the most farcical, absurd story I have read since A Confederacy of Dunces.

It's best read with a complete suspension of belief, in as few sessions as possible. I found it hard to re-enter this state of disbelief, but once I found the groove again, I was laughing aloud once again.

The farcical plot comments on social roles & mores in two countries, one as north as one can go, the other as south as one can go, & throws in some jabs at the West, the Orient, & the Mi
The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden is the second book by Swedish journalist, media consultant and television producer, Jonas Jonasson. Determined not to be a latrine emptier all her life, Soweto youngster, Nombeko Mayeki uses her numerical skills and lots of hard work to advance her position. How she learns to read, ends up in possession of quite a few diamonds and later, something a whole lot more dangerous, is the story Jonasson tells in the first half of his book. It takes that long before ...more
Jan 16, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: give-up, 2015-to-read
I enjoyed it for the first few chapters 'coz of the writing style and the anticipation of a good story. And then somewhere along the way, the style became too boring for my liking and the story kept meandering this way and that...and well...I tried! But life's too short to force myself to complete a book that I'm clearly not enjoying, so there. It's probably a 2 or 3 star book if you dont mind the lack of descriptive prose and if dry humor is your thing. :-) ...more
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Once again a great book by Jonas Jonasson! I loved how every page made me laugh out loud. I loved the names of the chapters. And I love how his main characters are the epitome of the phrase "born with a caul."! For someone who hates politics, I really enjoy the politics incorporated in his books, even though they're tweaked here and there… and everywhere really, but they're still actual politics at the core!

“thanks to Police Inspector Loeffel for giving me facts that I later misrepresented in m
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I think Jonasson is a person full of information who has injected everyone into the theme of the book. he's a story about war and communism, Marxist and fascist, about nuclear weapons, peace, war, espionage, the superpowers' greed, and a summary of everything that's hot these days, And then, very subtly, he brings up the life story of a hard-working, talented girl. A girl who ignores failures and makes the wisest decision possible.The book's detailed and detailed explanations of events not only ...more
Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
This was on my To Be Read List for ages because I loved the 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window so much. I didn't love this one. It is still funny and clever, but the story gets a little long winded towards the end and while there is still plenty of action going on, so many improbably and hilariously weird circumstances, I just got a bit tired of it. I put this book on hold while I took some other books on holidays and coming back to it was difficult and I had to make myself finish it. W ...more
While I really enjoyed the first book by this author his second instalment on a similar theme just wasn't that convincing.

I really wanted to like it, but I found that for a book that supposedly had a female protagonist, that protagonist took up less than half of the "screen time", which was just disappointing.

I know I shouldn't compare the two, but having just finished the other right before this one, it just goes to showcase this book's weaknesses. The pace of the story is glacial most of the t
Jun 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
E-book is on sale today (6-21-15) for $1.99 so if it sounds good to you, go get it RIGHT NOW.

The main character is a young black girl from Soweto, whose occupation at the outset is a latrine emptier. Through a series of strange, random and often involuntary events, she forces someone to teach her to read and then becomes an indentured servant to the incompetent man running the South Africa nuclear weapons program. If that sounds like a stretch, it's just the beginning as Nombeko Mayeki is clever
Dec 10, 2015 rated it did not like it
The premise was interesting, the comments on the cover said it was hilarious, it was a bargain book: these are the reasons why I decided to put myself through the torture of reading this book. The heroine was supposed to save the King of Sweden--it was actually just a lot of mishaps that happened to fall in the right direction after falling in the wrong directions for the rest of the book. She was supposedly so smart and read every book she could get her hands on, and proceeded to prove her inte ...more
Gisela Hafezparast
Aug 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Another really funny book by Jonas Jonasson, whilst dealing with important and difficult topics. You can feel that the author was a foreign correspondence for a swedish paper for a long time and in his books he clearly "works through" some of the things he has has and experienced, but which are difficult to write about honestly in today's media world. I especially enjoyed the African part of the story as well as the topic of identity for both a black South African and a Swedish man who has throu ...more
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-reads
Now for something completely different...in this clever story, we meet a delightful, super brainy character from apartheid South Africa named Nombeko Mayeki. Hold on, this story is a long ride, where fantastic farce meets grim reality.

The statistical probability that an illiterate in 1970s Soweto will grow up and one day find herself confined in a potato truck with the Swedish king and prime minister is 1 in 45,766, 212,810.
This, according to the calculations of the aforementioned illiterate
Apoorva Ranade
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Right from Nombeko Mayeki's humble beginnings as an "illiterate" latrine cleaner in apartheid South Africa, we are as impressed by her resilience and smarts as those with whom she interacts throughout her adventures. Starting as two very separate narratives, the historical and political events in the novel weave everything together seamlessly in Jonasson's quirky, humorous writing style. Nombeko finds herself leading a band of fugitives whose oddball members are all fleshed out in excellent deta ...more
May 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one wacky, offbeat, deadpan humor story. It is part alternative history, part 20th century tall tale. It takes place during apartheid and nuclear proliferation. Much of the subject matter should not be humorous, but somehow it is. Don't expect to know where the story is going, just give up and let the author lead you around by the nose. If you like The Mouse That Roared, you might like The Girl who Saved the King of Sweden. The girl in the story, Nombeko, seems to parallel Tully Bascomb, ...more
Tamsien West (Babbling Books)
A bizarre blend of humour and historical fiction, Jonas Jonasson’s novel is laugh-out-loud funny.

A girl, born in the slums of South Africa during apartheid ends up saving the life of the King of Sweden, is the straightforward plot, as described in the absurdly long title. But the joy of this novel is in how on earth she ends up in a position to do so, with each twist in her tale more unlikely than the next.

This book covers so much history, from the lineage of the Swedish monarchy, to colonialis
Jun 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks
Loved it!
This book has sealed the deal and I’m now officially a huge fan of Jonasson’s novels, intending to devour them one by one before the year ends. I’ve read before The 100-Year-Old Man who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared series and absolutely loved them, however little did I know Jonasson’s sense of humor and witty storytelling existed in all of his novels! This novel is so contagious that I could not leave it or stop myself from recommending it to all the people who laugh at the fa
May 07, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Unfortunately this was quite a disappointing read for me. Whereas I thoroughly enjoyed Jonasson's first book, this one was just absurd and silly and I did not really find it funny. 2.5 stars only for this one.
Oct 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 1-2-stars, dnf
Could not finish. Just didn't like it. Could not keep my attention and the stories were just a bit too weird for me. Shame, because I did like the first Jonasson-book. ...more
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After a long career as a journalist, media consultant and television producer, Jonas Jonasson decided to start a new life. He wrote a manuscript, he sold all his possessions in Sweden and moved to a small town by Lake Lugano in Switzerland, only a few meters from the Italian border.

The manuscript became a novel. The novel became a phenomenon in Sweden, and now it is about to reach the rest of the

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