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The nameless protagonist in Jonas Karlssson's new novel receives an invoice in the mail for an outrageous 5,700,000kr. He assumes it must be a mistake since it such a high number and he never bought anything so expensive. After a month, another bill arrives with interest added in causing the invoice to become even higher. Since, he doesn't watch the public broadcasting, he didn't know that it was a new mandate that declared people would have to pay money based off their External Happiness score.
He calls their hotline and after hours of waiting is connected to Maud who explains to him the entire process of the new mandate. The part-time video store worker starts to feel his life is empty after he goes deeper into depth. The things and experiences that used to bring him happiness no longer brings him joy. How much is happiness worth? Does being richer or living within one means make them happier? How does being happy affect your outlook in life? Is it fair that those who are happy have "more" in life"? Will the main character and Maud be able to save each other?
The novel was a very interesting read and concept. It made me think of themes of "Brave New World" and "1984", however, the ending fell a bit flat for me in the end. The short novel was a quick read but I felt some of the text made little sense because of the translation. Overall, a fun little read for a rainy day as it will leave you questioning your own sense of happiness.
**Disclosure - I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion**