“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?”
Jonas Karlsson is back with another interesting story that follows a similar structure to his debut novel The Room. Endearing and charming in its delivery, The Invoice tells the tale of a man who leads a seemingly unremarkable and predictable life. He works part time at a video store, has a few friends, one noteworthy relationship that ended years ago and a routine that he enjoys and finds comfort in. When he receives an invoice from a bureaucratic agency in which he is billed an absurd amount, he figures it is a ridiculous and rather funny mistake. However, he soon learns that he is not the only one as people all over Sweden are being billed based on assessed happiness. Considering the basic facts of his life, how can his bill be such a large amount?
The Invoice is a lovely tale with some sweet and thought-provoking moments, that brings up the question of what signifies happiness and what it is worth. As with the author’s previous novel, the writing style is beautiful in its simplicity and straight-forward nature, delivering a story that examines life in some form while giving the reader something to think about. The unnamed protagonist is endearing in many ways and following his experiences and reactions is at times quite amusing. I very much enjoy Jonas Karlsson’s way of writing and would recommend his work to those looking for a simple, easy, and interesting read.
*ARC provided by NetGalley. Publication date: July 12, 2016.