The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
Here’s another gem for you fans of magical realism. I am one, and I loved this book.
The premise? Desperate to escape an unwanted marriage and a humdrum life, a young woman in the late 1600s makes a deal with the devil. Too late, though, she realizes that the price for her freedom is to be eternally forgotten. Since no one remembers her, no one knows her. She can form no lasting friendships, can create no lasting home, can never even write her own name. Ever.
It sounds lonely, and in many ways it is. But this book isn’t a slog through self-pity. Addie is strong and resourceful. She grasps love in tiny increments, leaves her mark on the world in dozens of small ways. I loved that about her — loved her mind, her creativity, her resilience.
I loved the history in this book, as Addie makes her way from country to country, continent to continent, era to era, and war to war over a span of 300 years.
I loved the people she meets, the magnetism she has that keeps them coming back to her, even though they don’t remember her from one encounter to the next.
I loved the art, which she so deeply affects in her craving to be remembered – her signature freckles, the ideas that she plants in great minds, ideas that take root and make the mark she cannot.
Then, in 2014 New York, she meets a boy who does remember her. I loved the unfolding of why that is, loved the sense of discovery, loved their love.
And I loved Luc, the devil, who is a recurring, complex, fascinating character.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is narrated by Julia Whalen. I’ve listened to books she’s read before, and she is masterful here. But then, she has good material to work with. V.E. Schwab’s writing is rich and descriptive and raw, the emotions detailed as intricately as the scenes, the clothes, and the food.
Might I have cut a little of that description here or there had I been her editor? Yes. I’ve been taught by mine not to use three descriptive phrases of the same thing when two paint the picture perfectly. But I’m quibbling. As audiobooks go, this was long – 17 hours and change – but I loved every minute.