Monday, July 25, 2016

The Invoice by Jonas Karlsson

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Hilarious, profound, and achingly true-to-life, Jonas Karlsson’s novel explores the true nature of happiness through the eyes of hero you won’t soon forget

A passionate film buff, our hero’s life revolves around his part-time job at a video store, the company of a few precious friends, and a daily routine that more often than not concludes with pizza and movie in his treasured small space in Stockholm. When he receives an astronomical invoice from a random national bureaucratic agency, everything will tumble into madness as he calls the hotline night and day to find out why he is the recipient of the largest bill in the entire country.

What is the price of a cherished memory? How much would you pay for a beautiful summer day? How will our carefree idealist, who is content with so little and has no chance of paying it back, find a way out of this mess? All these questions pull you through The Invoice and prove once again that Jonas Karlsson is simply a master of entertaining, intelligent, and life-affirming work.


Source: advance e-galley received from publisher in exchange for an honest review


The unnamed protagonist in this book has a rare quality. He's perfectly content with his life. He honestly has no real complaints. He leads a quiet life working part-time at a video store, has a few friends and is a big movie buff. There's nothing out of the ordinary about him which is what makes him so special. He receives an invoice one day that says he owes 5,700,00 Kronor (roughly US$662,594.00). His casual attitude about the invoice confused me so much that I thought that he was receiving that amount rather than being billed for it. Once I got that straightened out I went on to be baffled by his continued nonchalance about the whole thing. When he's finally curious enough to inquire about the invoice, he swiftly begins a most bizarre relationship with Maude, the customer service rep assigned to his case. I eventually gathered that the invoice is a bill for his life experiences thus far and the fact that he's so content and not wanting for much has made him some sort of anomaly. 

This is one peculiar story which I wasn't prepared for. It's off-beat tone is like an indie movie. It's sweet and funny; his relationship with Maude is touching, and it's amazing how after a while it all feels kind of normal. If you're up for an unusual storyline that'll challenge you a bit, The Invoice is right up your alley.

~ Bel



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