Leslie's Bookcase

celebrating and recommending unforgettable books

A crazy, delightful read about life and happiness: “The Invoice”

I was chuckling early on in Jonas Karlsson’s The Invoice: A Novel thanks to its crazy story line:

A seemingly Joe Average character in Sweden gets an astronomical  invoice from a government agency. He has no idea what he is being charged for or how he could possibly pay it, so he incessantly calls the hotline and later visits the agency to get the answers he craves.

As he works through the shock and acceptance of this “debt” he has been assessed for a simple yet mostly happy life, he contemplates the value of life experiences. Consequently, a reader contemplates such things along with him.

What is the value of a beautiful summer day? Does love that ends in heartache add positive or negative value to a life? What can a work of art such as a movie or book add to a life? How many people are really truly happy?

I found the book a rarity in that it is a mostly light, non-serious read that still commands deep thoughts about how we experience, assess, and compare happiness, and what experiences are truly worth.

Be warned, the book is kind of quirky; the main character is a bit odd; we get a lot of minute detail about his habitual existence; and as I previously mentioned the premise is outlandish. But it worked for me.

I found reading this book to be a truly unique and enjoyable experience. I laughed and cried, I looked forward to picking it up each evening, and it made me think deeply about life. What more could I ask for in a book?

I received an advance copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


  1. Never heard of this book before, it sounds brilliant! I must go give this a read. Thanks for the great review 🙂

  2. Great! My last post was asking about favorite novels – but I need lots of them. So thanks for this one! This sounds good!

    If you get a chance – check it out!

    • Leslie

      July 12, 2016 at 10:09 am

      I did check it out – always interesting to see what people say. I can rarely pick just one and it tends to change over time when I do! Thanks for reading my review!

  3. What is it with the quirky novels and authors from Sweden? Sounds rather similar to Jonas Jonasson. I will definitely read this book – thanks for sharing!

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