Raw Book review: The Girl who saved the king of Sweden

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Jonas Jonasson is a story telling genius whose books leave one in states of laughter, and the idea that luck really does happen to some people. His novel; The girl who saved the king of Sweden takes place in South Africa and Sweden. The main character Nombeko who grows up in a shack in Soweto while working for the local sanitary department and has a nack for numbers. Initially what seems as a spate of bad luck when she is run over by a South African engineer who works for the South African nuclear agency, turns into one of the best novels I have read in a while. After Nombeko is run over by the South African engineer she is forced to work for him until she can pay off the damage to his car. Not knowing that she not only has a knack for numbers and also learning new material the engineer slowly allows Nombeko to advise him on his work leading to a set of unfolding events that sees her come face to face with the Swedish King and the Swedish Prime minister.  Jonas Jonasson manages not only to capture the central character’s personality Nombeko but he does an excellent job in describing the life of someone who grows up in apartheid Soweto and then is forced to relate with the bigger world out of circumstance. The central character Nombeko is both robust in personality and grows to understand the nuances of a changing world through Jonasson’s writing. Although the story takes place in South Africa and Sweden, there seems to be a seamless transition for the central character and their ability to handle change, which also ad’s to Jonasson’s genius as a writer. So far I have managed to read all of Jonas Jonasson’s novels from The hundred year old man whom crawled out of the window to Hitman Anders and in all three books he remains one of the best story tellers I have ever read. His ability to capture the personality of his characters is uncanny and he has a unique ability to draw in the reader for his long novels and makes them feel like they are reading a 100 page book.  Over the course of this year Jonasson has become one of my favorite writers, not only because of his character descriptions but also in the detail in which he describes historical events as the backdrop to his books.  The book The girl who saved the king of Sweden comes highly recommended from the Real African desk as a must have for any avid novel readers. If I were to rate this book I would give it a 10 out of 10 not only for the simple style it is written in but also the intent to show that luck is not reserved only for the few but for normal people as well, and that life can take us on a journey at any period in our lives.


Dumani Mandela


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