Jonas Jonasson introduces The Prophet and the Idiot

“The ones who throw themselves into life often end up where they least expect it.”

Jonas Jonasson

My father used to say, “We only live once – and hardly even that” and then he would come up with something silly. Like when he traded our Saab estate car for a Volvo P1800.

“How do you think we, our three sons and the dog are going to fit in that?” my mother wondered.

“It’s the same one that the Saint had. Roger Moore, you know.”

“Answer the question instead.”

We had the same car as Roger Moore for an hour, then the Saab was back.

Father knew more than most that we only live once. That’s why he always made sure that something was happening. Like when he came home with a puppy against my mother’s explicit orders.

“I want it out of our house!” she demanded.

“His name is Anders.” my father said.

After my mother’s beloved father. He wasn’t dumb, my father.

“Okay. He can stay for a week on trial.”

I myself, over my sixty years, have collected memories of meetings with people like my father. Those who do things a little differently. Who are a little different. My favorite neighbor when I lived on Gotland was a chicken breeder. And a teacher of jiu jitsu. And a composer of classical music.

One day when he thought life was becoming too monotonous, he bought a go-kart and built a go-kart track around the chicken coop. I remember asking him if he had never thought about higher studies, because he had such brains.

Yes. But more than that.

“I was a teacher of international economics at Stockholm University for a few years. I traded it for the chickens, the best thing I ever did!”

I am telling you this as an introduction to my new novel, The Prophet and the Idiot.

Now you understand why I like my doomsday prophet Petra, my very unevenly gifted master-chef Johan and the lilac-haired Agnes who at seventy-five years old said: “Now I’m going to learn this damn internet” and in doing so becomes one of the world’s first influencers. Three people brought together by fate, equally agreed that one only lives once – and hardly even that.

What follows is a road trip through Europe and the world. The ones who throw themselves into life often end up where they least expect it. Like at a party at the Swedish embassy in Rome. And if you’re also an unevenly gifted master-chef, you’re more interested in what’s in the salmon canapé than who’s eating them.

“Wasabi,” Johan informs one of the guests.

“Obama,” answers Barack Obama.

Followed by the idiot and the president becoming friends. And influencing world development together. Such a thing can only happen in two places: 1) in my novels, and 2) in reality. 

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