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The Invoice by Jonas Karlsson
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The Invoice (2014)

by Jonas Karlsson

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1818693,172 (3.77)28

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English (88)  Dutch (1)  All languages (89)
Showing 1-5 of 88 (next | show all)
What started out as an intriguing book doesn't quite get its message across. Imagine you're just living your life, day to day. You're in a stable but perhaps not a great job. You're not really social, not in a romantic relationship. You just...exist. And then one day, a notice comes in a mail. It's some sort of bill. For an astronomical amount. What is this? What is it for? Why has this bill come now and why is it so much?
 
That is the premise of 'The Invoice'. The unnamed narrator is shocked one day to find he has this incredibly ridiculous bill and really no way to pay it in his current job and unlikely to be able to pay it even if he got a better one. So what does he do, what is it for and how does he go about solving the bill?
 
And that's where it all went downhill. While the writing was interesting enough to keep me interested, the message was lost in the sauce.I honestly don't know what the author was trying to get across, other than live your life, take some adventures, be happy. Don't just exist. At least, that's what I think that's what he was trying to say.
 
It started off really well but then I began to wonder if there was supposed to be some sort of twist. Like he was in some sort of 'Matrix'-like reality. Or it was really some sort of 'A Christmas Carol' type of adaption I understood the message but the book just sort of petered off after the initial premise of this bill that keeps going up.
 
That's too bad. I could really identify with the narrator in a lot of ways, from being just a schmoe who exists to that likes his sister's children...in small doses  to not having a large social circle, etc. But unfortunately the book starts getting a bit too weird for me.
 
It was a short read but I wouldn't recommend it. Back to the library! ( )
  acciolibros | Feb 11, 2018 |
The Synopsis
The main character, well, we never learn his name. But we do learn that while he lives a very simple, minimalistic life, he is happy. Working part time at a movie rental store (our main character loves movies), watching movies, talking with one friend that he has known most of his life. Well, there isn’t anything out of the ordinary. Until one day he received an invoice. A very large invoice. Playing it off as a mistake, he doesn’t think much of it. And then he realizes that others are talking about invoices. Then he receives another invoice — with interest. What is this about? He contacts the company and we spend the rest of the book trying to figure out along with him what is going on. In a world where everything has a price, one must become reflective — what was so great about my life that it would end up costing this much?

The Review
I really enjoyed this book. When I finished it initially, I gave it four stars on Goodreads. I kept the score on here but having had a few more days to mull it over, I would probably give it closer to 3.5 stars. The premise is interesting, the writing is great. But…there is something missing.

I enjoyed the layout of this book. I enjoyed learning about the character and his past through, in a sense, inventory of his life when he is discussing his bill with the company. I enjoyed the other characters, as little as they truly appear. And I really enjoyed his relationship with Maud, the customer service representative that he talks to throughout the book. I even enjoyed the main character not having a name — and I didn’t think I would.

However, I found the book to be lacking. While interesting and a fun read, once I was done, I felt like it just…ended. I could have easily read more and been happy. The quick read felt more like a short story. I would have been happy to have had more characters to read about and see the different stories they all had to tell. I really enjoyed the psychological take on this, discussing how one copes with life and how one perceives things affects their happiness. ( )
  bookcoverjudge | Jul 6, 2017 |
This book should have been a quick read as it's a small novel and not very much happens inside. However, it took me forever to finish it, and eventually I had to kind of speed read just to get it over with. The plot is supposed to be thought-provoking, but instead it's merely a silly, monotonous tale about the most insipid character on Earth. This book put me to sleep plenty of times. In the end, the payoff wasn't worth the boring experience. ( )
  cosiari | Jun 29, 2017 |
The Invoice is a quick but thought productive novel. It follows the story of a nameless young man who suddenly recieves a large bill for the life he has lived. But could this bill be correct? Could such a simple life be so costly? It makes you think about how much the little things add up in a sense, about how much your life is worth. ( )
  CBreher | May 29, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Happiness. How much is it worth to you? An interesting take on the value of life. The author had a great idea and he really tried to bring across this existential idea of the value of happiness.

The author unfurls the idea through the mundane life of a video store clerk: what events in our life can make us happy or not and what can it be worth? Love, death, mediocrity. And then how do we measure those awful things in life that may result in a positive outcome?

Again very interesting but I think the author just missed something extra. I can't really put my finger on it although parts of the book were rather slow and other parts could be fleshed out more.

Even as slow as it read, it made me think about perception or mindset of happiness. Isnt that what books are aimed to do?

A special thanks to Library Thing Early Reviewers for a copy of this book in lieu of an honest review. ( )
  fueledbycoffee | Apr 30, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 88 (next | show all)
I received this copy from LibraryThing Early Reviewers. I think the topic of this book is quite interesting. Imagine receiving a bill for being alive, and how much would you pay for it all?
 
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It was such an incredible amount, 5,700,000 kronor.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 110190514X, Hardcover)

From the acclaimed author of THE ROOM about the cost of life and love, and the pleasure of the little things, in the modern world.
 
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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 01 Feb 2016 03:59:06 -0500)

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.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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