Have you ever imagined what it would be like to live forever, to never age or to never succumb to any kind of prolonged illness?
The idea may seem thrilling, but what if the price you paid was “to be forgotten by everyone you meet”?
Strange but as true as Eve offering an apple to Adam, this is the premise of V.E. Schwab’s novel, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue.
Set in 18th-century France, the book tells the story of a young woman who makes a deal with a demon to escape an unwanted marriage and, in return, gain what we mortals call “the gift of immortality”.
However, the cost of her wish is something she initially thought would not be a big deal. Sadly, as fate would say, it eventually did.
In this discussion guide, we’ll have a look at some book club questions for The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue and why it’s a must-read for anyone looking to delve deep into captivating topics such as love, loss, and the desire for immortality to escape our problems.
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Book Club Questions for The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
- Luc is the entity that cursed Addie with eternal life, and he appears to her every year on the anniversary of their deal. Despite the fact that he is the source of her suffering, Addie comes to view Luc with absolute affection, given that he is the only entity who remembers her.
In spite of their complicated relationship, what is your take on the significance of Addie’s relationship with Luc?
- Addie copes with the challenges of her immortal life by becoming a muse to various artists and writers throughout history. She inspires them to create works of art and literature that will endure long after she is gone. She also learns to adapt to the changing times and the ever-evolving world around her. However, despite her coping mechanisms, she is still plagued by loneliness and the pain of hunger, cold, and injury.
What’s your take on the way these negative consequences of a superpower are explored in this novel?
- Henry’s appearance in Addie’s life is significant because he is the first person to remember her in three centuries. This gives her hope that she may be able to form a lasting human connection after all. However, their relationship is complicated by the fact that Henry has made a deal with Luc, and his time with Addie is limited.
Do you think it was Henry’s appearance in Addie’s life that forced her to confront the reality of her superpower and the sacrifices she has made to survive?
- Henry decides to publish “The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue” as a means to represent Addie’s legacy. In spite of the fact that she would be forgotten by everyone she met, this book will actually help her be immortal in everyone’s memory.
Do you think this represents the power of storytelling as a means of leaving a mark on the world and the importance of human connection in the face of mortality?
- Luc sets up conditions that result in Addie suffering physical abuse, such as starving and freezing, with no end in sight. He also inflicts direct physical pain on Addie when he is displeased with her. Luc seeks to control and possess Addie, and when she refuses to yield her soul to him, his compulsion to control her turns obsessive.
Why do you think Addie chose Luc as a temporary partner in spite of her abusive tendencies? Was it her loneliness or her insecurities?
- Addie’s relationship with Luc starts as a Faustian deal where she trades her soul for immortality, but it quickly becomes clear that Luc desires to control and possess her. At the end of the book, Addie vows to make Luc regret his decision to let her out of the deal, signaling a shift in their power dynamic.
Let us discuss how Addie’s relationship with Luc changes over the course of the book and what are the three key takeaways from such relationships.
- We know how Addie spent centuries in obscurity, unable to leave any mark on the world or be remembered by anyone. We also know that Henry’s decision to publish Addie’s journals under her name allowed her story to be told and her legacy to live on.
What’s your take on the highlights of the power dynamics at play in their relationship, as Henry benefits from Addie’s experiences but chooses not to take credit for them himself?
- Addie’s curse grants her immortality but also robs her of the ability to connect with others in a meaningful way. Henry’s curse gives him a newfound appreciation for life but also a sense of urgency in experiencing it before his inevitable death. Luc is motivated by his fear of death and seeks to control Addie to avoid facing his own mortality.
Based on this context, discuss the sharp contrast between the themes of mortality and immortality as explored in the book.
- Throughout the novel, Addie struggles with the consequences of her choices and the limitations imposed upon her as a result of her gender. From a young age, she resists the idea of getting married and having children and instead focuses on her artistic pursuits and desire for adventure. This rebellion against societal expectations is what ultimately results in her curse.
Do you think Addie’s rejection of traditional gender norms is a defining aspect of her character?
- Remy Laurent’s character highlights the gender inequalities that existed during the 1700s. As a man, Remy has more opportunities and freedoms than Addie, and he struggles to understand why she would want to leave her village and pursue a different life.
Discuss how this ignorance is indicative of the larger societal expectations placed upon women during that time period, which often limited their life options and opportunities.
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