“The Invoice”–Review

51FNB4GlZqL._SX336_BO1,204,203,200_A heartfelt exploration of the cost of life and love—and the importance of the little things.

Jonas Karlsson’s new novel is about the nature of happiness through the eyes of his nameless main character.  In his late 30s, he’s a movie buff who works part time at a video store.  He’s content with having few friends and acquaintances, as well as his daily routine of movies and pizza in his small flat in Stockholm.

He ends up with a different perspective, however, when he ends up receiving an invoice from a national bureaucratic agency, stating that he owes over 5,000,000 kronor. (I believe, in U.S. currency, that amount is over $600,000.)  Demanding to know why he has received the largest bill in the country, he calls the hotline day and night.  After finally getting through to a representative, he realizes he’s being billed just for being alive.  But he’s still confused as to why he has to pay such an high amount.  After all, he’s never really lived a day in his life, never applied himself to anything, never traveled, he’s had a few lovers but not long-term relationships, he has a dead-end job, and yet he was always content.  So why him?

The main character is an idealist.  But now that he’s in hot water, how can he possibly pay off this astronomical debt?

It’s quite an interesting topic.  Although the ending wasn’t what I expected, I still think it’s worth reading.  Just imagine what it would be like for everyone in the world to be billed for being alive—whether their lives have been great or not.

As always, feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading!

*The Invoice will be on sale in July 2016.  I received this copy from LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers.

About the author: Jonas Karlsson writes plays and short fiction.  One of Sweden’s most prominent actors, Karlsson has performed on Sweden’s premier stage and in several feature films and television series.  In 2005, he made his debut as a playwright, earning rave reviews from audiences and critics alike.  He is also the author of The Room.