The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
Published: 6th October 2020
Format: Hardback, 442 pages
Synopsis: France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets. Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world. But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.
Luc was without a doubt my favourite character of them all. I found him to be the easiest to read and weirdly the most likable. He was the most honest and that is something massively important to me and what I look for in my close circle. Addie was likeable enough, but where it came to Henry, I found her holding her cards quite close to her chest in some scenes and you would have thought that after 300 years of no one remembering you, that the first person to do this and to actually like you, you’d be as transparent as you could possibly be. Surely there would be that maturity? I understood Henry’s affliction a great deal, and so gave his lack of maturity a pass.
We visit many places in this story but for the majority of it, we spend it in New York and France. We also get to see many cities in the past and that was a joy but the real joy came from the language and prose. We all know that this book has been Schwab’s heart for a number of years and it shows. You can tell that when the seed was planted, the idea for this book, she watered it, gave it light and space to grow in her mind. She gave this book the love it needed to feel safe and to tell it’s secrets and it’s truly beautiful. There are copious amounts of quotes that are just sublime.
I had read a few reviews of this book before writing my own. On the face of it, it seems to be a greatly loved story and one of Schwab’s best. And I don’t disagree. I have given it 5 stars because the writing in this is unparalleled. However, I believe I read it at a time in my life when all my walls are sky high and so the emotions within it had next to no effect on me. In some passages I could understand the words and the turmoil of the characters, but I had no response of my own to them. And so I plan to revisit this book when my own life has calmed down so I get that connection that so many other people have had.
“Henry has heard that grief has stages. He wonders if the same is true for love. If it’s normal to feel lost, and angry, and sad, hollow and somehow, horribly, relieved.”