"What she needs are stories. Stories are a way to preserve one's self. To be remembered. And to forget. Stories come in so many forms: in charcoal, and in song, in paintings, poems, films. And books. Books, she has found, are a way to live a thousand lives—or to find strength in a very long one.”
From the first ten pages of this book, I knew it would be in my top ten list for the year. Addie LaRue is cursed to be forgettable but is not forgotten by the artists she encounters in her three hundred years of living, and is certainly not forgotten by her audience outside of the pages.
"Never pray to the gods that answer after dark"
Beginning in 1714, a young woman named Adeline makes a desperate, Faustian bargain and quickly realizes the true nature of the deal she's made. She makes her way, the elusive deal-maker Luc flitting in and out of her life, but it is not until three hundred years of navigating her way through life and history that she meets someone in a bookstore in New York who can remember her and speak her name, and things change yet again.
Addie LaRue is captivating. Schwab has woven a tale that spans centuries and every character, intricately crafted, is one to fall in love with. The people that Addie meets, Addie herself, Henry Strauss of the New York bookstore. Every page is a strange adventure, never predicted but always enjoyed, the emotions that build up between centuries and ebb and flow against the decades.
Though the scene is set by immortality, this once-in-a-lifetime masterpiece evokes a joyous rebellion against a fear of death and simultaneously, against death itself. Reading half like a myth, half like a fairy-tale, this book is clever, suspended between light and dark, a little bit evil and a little bit humanistic.
I have always admire V. E. Schwab's writing for its atmospheric charm, riveting dialogue, and beautiful story-weaving, but there is not denying that The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is the most gorgeous, most compelling work from her that I've yet read, and I will treasure the experience found between these pages for some time to come.
“Stories are a way to preserve one's self. To be remembered. And to forget.”