By Jonas Karlsson

A part-time job at a video store, the intermittent company of a few friends, and an unassuming daily routine that more often than not concludes with a pizza and a movie in his one-room flat on Södermalm in Stockholm. This is the life of our main character and narrator – until he receives a mysterious invoice. The invoice requires him to pay the astronomical amount of 5.7 million kronor. This is the price he has to pay for everything he has experienced throughout his entire life, as well as for all the happiness he has ever known. But how could this man, a modest movie-buff who is content with so little and has no big dreams or prospects, have been invoiced so much? Is this all a hoax?

Minimalist, surreal and highly original, The Invoice is an absurdist literary gem that questions what we call happiness and how it is measured. Written with charming humour and a sharp eye for the foibles of our age, this novel is also a moving love story that will change the way you see your life.

First published by Wahlström & Widstrand, Sweden 2014

Albania, Shkupi
Arab World, Dar Al Adab
Bulgaria, Era
Catalonia, Salamandra
China, Shanghai 99 (Simplified Chinese)
Czechia, Zlin
Denmark, Tiderne Skifter
Estonia, Hea Lugu
France, Actes Sud
Germany, Luchterhand
Greece, Papadopoulos
Hungary, Europa
Japan, Sunmark Publishing
Korea, Prunsoop
Netherlands, Atlas Contact
North Macedonia, Matica
Poland, Znak
Portugal, Alfaguara
Serbia, Laguna
Slovakia, Ikar
Spain, Salamandra (World Spanish)
Sweden, Wahlström & Widstrand
Turkey, April
UK, Hogarth
US, Hogarth

Film rights
Sweden, Inland Film


“A spectacular little book /…/ a small gem full of humor.”
– Livrés Hebdo, France

“Jonas Karlsson has written a flawless portrait of a happy, lazy rebel who doesn’t care about the general displeasure of the people.”
– Libération, France

“[In The Invoice] you will find the humorous surrealism of Amélie Nothomb, the intrusive bureaucracy of George Orwell and the desperate fates Kafka’s characters suffered. Much more than just a pamphlet on our society’s obsession with money, this novel is a clever tale of happiness.”
– Gael, France

“This perceptive portrait of today’s society is both spot-on and disquieting. Not to mention refreshing.”
– Ouest-France, France

“An original and smart tale where dark comedy is mixed with criticism of the absurd in our society.”
– La Provence, France

“Jonas Karlsson delivers a brilliant story.”
– Version Fémina, France

“With The Invoice, Jonas Karlsson has written a novel with several strong points. On the one hand it is reminiscent of Kafka: authorities that are turned into tools of tyranny, the absurdity, and the constant surveillance. On the other hand, thanks to the protagonist, it reminds one of Jean Giono: the joy found in the smallest of things, and the pleasure of living in a harmoniously restrained manner. ”
– Le Canard Enchainé, France

“[Karlsson’s] modern-day fable is entertaining, thought-provoking and delivered with good humour.”
– The Observer, UK

“Karlsson’s wry, whimsical novel excels at describing the simple pleasures of everyday life: it’s as if Kafka decided to look on the bright side”
– Mail on Sunday, UK

The Invoice comes in [The Room’s] wake, and in the week that “blue Monday” was supposed to have driven us to a post-happy winter nadir, this novel shines some light. /…/ this story can almost be envisioned as a quirky indie film, the kind that befits an actor-writer such as the Swedish Karlsson. The Invoice is a refreshingly odd book, told in a distinctive voice with a strong resistance to conformity at its heart. ”
– The Independent, UK

“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. ”
– Publishers Weekly, US

“A fable for the ages. Should be read alongside The Trial and Nineteen Eighty-Four as an antidote.”
– Kirkus Reviews, US

“A fanciful escape from everyday life.”
– New York Post, US