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In our Editor's Choice feature this week, we bring you The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab, the riveting story of a woman who makes a Faustian bargain to live forever under compromised and bizarre circumstances. In the accompanying "beyond the book" article we explore palimpsests; we also offer hand-selected read-alike recommendations.

Our latest book club discussion opened a few days ago. We're chatting about bestselling author Sara Donati's Where the Light Enters, a unique work of historical fiction that follows two heroic female physicians in 19th-century New York.

We also have a new Culture Corner, and look ahead to upcoming book club discussions.

Very best,
Culture Corner
Each week, we're sharing a few links to cultural experiences you can access from home during the pandemic, such as online concerts, theater and art.

This week we suggest a self-guided tour of the Pyramids of Giza, then for extra credit sign up for Harvard's free course: Ancient Egyptian Art and Archaeology. You might also wish to take a tour of Hamilton's New York and listen to BBC Radio's Edith Sitwell in Scarborough starring Glenda Jackson.
Book Club
Discussions are open to all to view and participate, so if you've read this book, please do join us. The discussion does contain spoilers so, if you have not read it, we suggest you click "About the Book" to read our review and article, and browse an extensive excerpt.
Where the Light Enters
by Sara Donati
From the Book Jacket

From Sara Donati, the international bestselling author of The Gilded Hour comes an enthralling epic about two trailblazing female doctors in nineteenth-century New York.

From the Discussion

"I loved it. I love accurate historical fiction. Since there were so many characters and story lines, even though this was a long book I never was bored. Although this phase is terribly overused, it truly was a page turner." - shirleyl

"I loved this book - I think it was over 600 pages but I read it in less than two weeks... There was a previous book which I may go back to read. I'm looking forward to the next book. I appreciated the variety of characters - in age, gender, class, background." - vickys

"I was excited to see Where the Light Enters as a selection since I really enjoyed the first book in the Waverly Place series, The Gilded Hour. It was helpful but not necessary to have that character knowledge before reading Where the Light Enters. I liked many of the same characteristics that were part of the first book. The time period is fascinating as are the characters: strong women working against convention to make their place in the world." - paulak
Berkley Books. Historical Fiction. 672 pages. Paperback published Sep 1, 2020
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Editor's Choice
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
by V.E. Schwab
In The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, readers follow the eponymous heroine through history, from rural 18th-century France to modern-day New York City. As a child, Addie is told by an older friend and mentor, "No matter how desperate or dire, never pray to the gods that answer after dark." When a crisis unfolds, though, she does the unthinkable and summons the type of being she was specifically told to avoid. She tells the creature, "I want a chance to live. I want to be free...I want more time," and with that, she sells her soul. Such Faustian bargains are never straightforward, and what Addie doesn't realize is that while the deal means she'll live precisely as long as she wants to, the flipside is that she will leave no mark of her passage, no proof she existed; she is cursed to be forgotten through all time. The story follows her escapades over the next 300 years until something remarkable happens in New York City in 2014: someone remembers her.

Everything about the novel is stellar, from the pacing to the characters to the exceptionally well-thought-out plot. Schwab's writing, too, is superb, convincingly reflecting the longing at her heroine's core while at the same time being beautifully descriptive...
Beyond the Book: Palimpsests
The heroine of V.E. Schwab's novel, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, often takes notice of what she refers to as "palimpsests," which she defines as instances where the past is blotted out and written over by the present.

The word palimpsest comes from the Greek palimpsestos, meaning "scraped again." Strictly speaking, the term refers to a piece of parchment that has been "recycled" — cleaned of its original text and overwritten in the interest of economy — but on which traces of the earlier document can still be observed.

The technique was relatively common in antiquity, when writing media like parchment (made from animal skin) were scarce and expensive. Existing text would be erased by literally scraping off the ink, followed by treatment with a concoction made from oat bran and milk...
Tor Books. Novel. 448 pages. Published Oct 6, 2020
BookBrowse Rating: 5/5, Critics' Consensus: 5/5
Review and article by Kim Kovacs
Read-alikes for The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

BookBrowse offers thousands of handpicked Read-Alike recommendations to help you find new reads based on books you already love. Unlike the recommendations generated by algorithms found on many popular sites, our Read-Alikes are selected by our editorial team based on similarities in story, character, setting and language.
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