Hilarious, profound, and achingly true-to-life, Jonas Karlsson s new novel explores the true nature of happiness through the eyes of hero you won t soon forget. Read more...
Hilarious, profound, and achingly true-to-life, Jonas Karlsson s new 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."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-05-09
- Reviewer: Staff
Karlsson (The Room) explores the elusiveness of happiness in modern times. When a part-time clerk at Jugge’s Flicks, an art house video store in Stockholm, receives an invoice for nearly six million kroner (more than $900,000) from a mysterious bureaucratic entity called World Resources Distribution (WRD), he assumes that someone somewhere is running a scam. The absurd request—which turns out to be a tax on Experienced Happiness—triggers a series of reassessments that forces the protagonist to recall every major event in his life to determine if he is, as WRD claims, extraordinarily happy. Sure, while a student at university he experienced a life-changing and clandestine relationship with a beautiful Indian student who left him for an arranged marriage, but at first glance, his life has been uneventful. While protesting the charge, which increases even as he makes daily desperate calls to WRD., he falls for Maud Andersson, the voice on the other end of the line. Could the narrator’s own blithe acceptance of life’s foibles further complicate his situation? Karlsson’s story recalls the work of Jorge Luis Borges and Franz Kafka, if those two had been, well, happy. The narrator, an affable fellow at loose ends, understands his uncluttered life better than he thinks he does, and the author’s sympathetic portrayal of him, as well as the mirror his experience holds to an increasingly Byzantine and humorless society, wins the day. (July)