Indelible

Indelible

A Novel

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
2
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A masterful, enthralling debut novel about fate, family secrets, and the stories our bodies tell.

Magdalena has an unsettling gift. She sees the truth about people written on their skin--names, dates, details both banal and profound--and her only relief from the onslaught of information is to take off her glasses and let the world recede. Mercifully, her own skin is blank.

When she meets Neil, she is intrigued to see her name on his cheek. He's in Paris for the summer, studying a medieval pilgrimage to the coast of Spain, where the body of Saint Jacques is said to have washed ashore, covered in scallop shells. Magdalena, desperate to make things right after her best friend dies--a tragedy she might have prevented--embarks on her own pilgrimage, but not before Neil falls for her, captivated by her pale eyes, charming Eastern European accent, and aura of heartbreak.

Neil's father, Richard, is also in Paris, searching for the truth about his late mother, a famous expatriate American novelist who abandoned him at birth. All his life Richard has clung to a single memory of his mother--her red shoes--which her biographers agree he never could have seen.

In Adelia Saunders' arresting debut, secrets are revealed among forgotten texts in the old archives of Paris, on a dusty cattle ranch in the American West, along ancient pilgrim paths, and in a run-down apartment in post-Soviet Lithuania. By chance, or perhaps by fate, the novel's unforgettable characters converge, and Magdalena's uncanny ability may be the key to their happiness.

Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury, 2017.
ISBN: 9781632863942
Branch Call Number: FIC Saund
Characteristics: 270 pages ; 25 cm

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debover60
Mar 12, 2017

Be prepared: "Indelible" is a slow burn of a novel, wending its way through cities, countries, the past and present with three people who each have a piece to stoke the fire, until its final illuminating blaze. It is a kind of mystery, surrounding an otherworldly and not altogether wonderful gift of the senses, which somehow makes perfect "sense", grounding the story in a fragile beauty and urgency. It isn't fluffy, or magical, in that Cinderella sense, but rather is touched with the darker edge of old superstitions and a whiff of Grimms.

Magdalena sees words- on people's skin. Much of what she reads is incomprehensible to her, without context, but some words- cancer, kill- stand alone. She wears her contact lenses or glasses as little as possible so that she doesn't have to face the writing she meets on everyone's face. Richard is in Paris to research the life of the famous mother who abandoned him at birth, in 1950. He is sure she returned to the USA when he was three, because he can still visualize her red shoes; he is looking for any connection. Neil is Richard's son, at college in London, but on a work study project in Paris.

Step by step, more is revealed. Bit by bit, the reader sees connections develop. As each character follows their individual search, each unlocks a piece of self inspiration. Magdalena knows that there are others like her, whose fate has not been pleasant. But the three of these rootless people must search, must look, must try, must see.

I liked this novel - unique, moving characters, touching themes and gorgeous locales. 4.00 stars

This story is about a girl named Magdalena and she can read things on people's skin. Then she meets Neil who has her name on her cheek and is swept into family drama. That started when Neil's father was abandoned by his mother at birth.

What I like about this book: The 3 different narrators so we can understand the story better.

What I disliked: the type of writing confused me multiple times!!!

I recommend this book for people who like stories multiple narrators

Overall recommended
From Abi
______________________________________________________________________________________________

Overall, this book was not one of my favourites. I expected something along the fantasy genre when I picked it out, not a real-world/mystery type book. The story follows a young woman, Magdalena, who can read important names and events on people’s skin. She ends up meeting Neil, the grandson of a famous writer Inga Beart because their parents knew each other and wanted to exchange Christmas gifts. The plot jumps back and forth through time, but essentially long ago Neil’s father was abandoned by Inga, and now Neil’s father is investigating records of his mother’s time in Paris. At the same time, Magdalena is recovering from her friend’s death and going on a pilgrimage to Spain. Neil is working on a school project in Paris and also going back and forth making discoveries about Inga and trying to search for Magdalena. What I liked: I personally enjoy piecing things together to add another element to the story, and this book provided that. What I didn’t like: the characters were very odd and had a lot of issues, sometimes I found that I didn’t understand them and I couldn’t really connect with them. As you can imagine, the timeline was very confusing, which took away some enjoyment of the book. The book quality is high in certain ways, the author clearly put a lot of time into the details, enough that it nearly takes away from the flow of the story and you find yourself reading description after description. The characters, as I mentioned before, are a bit confusing. They are definitely dynamic and round, but I struggled to understand their perspective. I think it takes a certain type of person to enjoy this book, certainly if you enjoy a piecing together a puzzle. I would recommend it, but not to everybody.
-C.W.

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