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Book Review – Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All

HitmanAndersPHitman Anders and the Meaning of It All

Author: Jonas Jonasson
Genre: Fiction (general)
Release Date: April, 2016
Rating: ★★★☆

“Hitman Anders is fresh out of prison and trying to keep his head down when he meets a female Protestant vicar (who happens to be an atheist), and a receptionist at a 1-star hotel (who happens to be currently homeless). Together they cook up an idea for a very unusual business that’s going to make them all a fortune – but then all of a sudden, and to everyone’s surprise, Anders finds Jesus . . .
Anders’ sudden interest in religion might be good for his soul but it’s not good for business, and the vicar and the receptionist have to find a new plan, quick.
As wildly funny and unexpected as The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared and The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden, this is a madcap, feel-good adventure about belief, the media – and the fact that it’s never too late to start again.” (4th Estate)

This book was typical Jonasson: funny and outlandish with a bunch of weird characters and scenarios. As a result it made me laugh A LOT (sorry to my fellow train passengers who had to put up with my early morning/late afternoon snickering for a couple of days). The book gives new meaning to the phrase “organised crime”, while also making an absurd yet funny and slightly true observation about religion. I didn’t particularly like any of the characters – they were all actually pretty horrible – but they were perfect for this story. And I have to share this quote with you that made me laugh particularly loudly:

“He asked if an alternative might be to recite the scientific names of mushrooms, in case of emergency, because that might sound very religious to someone who wasn’t totally in the know. And, as proof, he demonstrated: ‘Cantharellus cibarius, Agaricus arvensis, Tuber magnatum … in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen.'”

The only real issue I had is that it was quite slow in some parts and while those parts gave background to the characters, they didn’t really add a lot to the overall story. It was information that was definitely needed, but I don’t know that it was information that deserved entire chapters, especially at the risk of slowing down the narrative. In any case, I think fans of Jonasson will really like Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All – just keep the snickering to a dull roar.

Many thanks to 4th Estate and NetGalley for providing me with a review copy.

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