Hitman Anders And The Meaning Of It All by Jonas Jonasson (book review).

‘Hitman Anders’ is a short and pleasing novel from Jonas Jonasson (‘The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of A Window And Disappeared’).


The Receptionist, as he is mostly known in this novel, or Per Persson has had a mostly rotten life. It has been rotten enough to make him the receptionist at a lousy hotel that rents rooms by the hour. He sleeps behind the counter and has not enough money to make a difference in his life.

Two things happen. He meets the Hitman Anders and a priest called Johanna, who has just been thrown out of her church for not believing in God. The scheme that is hatched between them to make the Hitman a success and the couple financially independent, results in consequences scarcely conceivable. As the couple get increasingly desperate to shake off their ‘Hitman’, the scheme gets wilder, especially when other interested parties decide to take matters in hand.

‘Hitman Anders’ is a farce and a black comedy. It reminds me of the Ealing Comedies such as ‘Kind Hearts And Coronets’ and ‘The Ladykillers’ and, as such, is a quick-fire plot which does not overstay it’s welcome. We don’t get really invested in the characters in this book as this is a broadstroke creation which deals in action and amusing dialogue more than character development. It doesn’t matter. ‘Hitman Anders’ does not have pretentions to that much glory but does its job to entertain in a jolly way allowing us to laugh at misfortunes of others without feeling too bad.

I thought this was funny and enjoyed his other books which seem to have spawned their own cult including the very distinctive covers that proclaim their cartoonish intent.

Sue Davies

June 2016

(pub: 4th Estate. 384 page paperback. Price: £ 8.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-00815-207-9)

check out website: www.4thestate.co.uk/

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