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An Indie Next Pick
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 skinnames, dates, details both banal and profoundand 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 diesa tragedy she might have preventedembarks 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 motherher red shoeswhich 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.
|Product dimensions:||6.50(w) x 8.80(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
Adelia Saunders has a master's degree from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and a bachelor's degree from NYU. She has taught English in Paris, written for an independent newswire at the United Nations, and assisted an agricultural economist in Uganda. She grew up in Durango, Colorado, and currently lives with her husband and two small children in New York City, where she works for an international think tank. This is her first novel.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Draws you in and keeps you rooting for each of the characters as they find their own way to understanding, acceptance and hope.
Indelible, Adelia Saunders Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews Genre: General fiction I really wanted to like this book, it sounded so deliciously different, and reminded me a bit of Elizabeth Hunter’s Irin chronicles with the skin marking references, though of course instead of a few people having visible marking to others, only Magdalena sees what’s marked, no-one else. Once I started reading though..well, I just felt it was a disjointed rambling tale. Nothing seemed to really relate to anything else, we seemed to veer from one persons POV to the next, and I just felt lost, didn’t understand what was the point of what we were told. It felt like a story that led nowhere. The three main characters had a very tenuous connection, and I felt them to be kind of flat, I didn’t understand them, didn’t like them and just wasn’t interested in their spry or what would happen to them. I started flipping through at about 30% hoping it would get more interesting, looking for something that would hook me in to the story. I didn’t find it and DNF the novel. There’s too many books I will like to waste time on one I know I’m not going to. For me it was a story that had so much fantastical potential but which turned out very different to what I expected from the description. I can see though that many others love it, clearly it resonated with many people but for me its just a fail. Stars: two, just one of those I didn’t like, didn’t understand but others love. Che sera... ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers
"Indelible" was not what I expected. We follow three characters as their lives collide and separate. I found it to be overall a somewhat dark and depressing read. Magdalena is a young woman who has the ability to read what fate or "Luck" has written all over a person's skin. Sometimes this is useful information and sometimes not. Sometimes it is written in a language she can read, but sometimes not. Regardless, she finds that it is more of a burden than an aid, and so she avoids reading or acting on what other people's skins say. This brings the guilt she feels about her best friend Lina, who dies accidentally, but whose death was written plainly on her skin. Could Magdalena have prevented it? This is unknown/unclear. We also follow Richard Beart fairly often. He is on a quest in Paris to learn more about his mother, Inga Beart, who was a famous novelist and who gave him up when he was a baby/had no interest in him. He believes that she actually came to see him when he was two and he remembers her red shoes. His life has turned into a quest to discover if such a thing was possible/true. He was disgraced and had to leave his job as a teacher (unclear if the accusation of sexual assault was true or not) and his son has little interest in him. He is alone and clings to the idea that his mother did love him, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Richard's son, Neil, is the third person which we sometimes follow. He is a college student in London and meets Magdalena briefly when she is carrying Lina's ashes. He calls her Magdute for a while until she corrects him, but he actually has her name written on him. Magdalena is too preoccupied/upset about Lina to really pay too much attention to what it means, but we learn that Neil becomes interested in her very quickly and imagines their meeting going a different way. There should be some content warnings for this book, including for attempted suicide, sexual assault/harassment, and voyeurism. This is definitely written for a mature audience. I found it to be rather slow moving and depressing on the whole as many of these characters seem to be stuck in the past/weighed down by their lives. Magdalena's gift is a very, very small part of the plot, which surprised me because from the synopsis, I thought this would be the main part of the book. It more follows these character's links with history and with each other, how briefly or not. I did find it to be similar in feel to "Cloud Atlas" in some ways. Overall, it's an intriguing book about missed connections and how we relate to history and others, but I found it a little too slow and depressing for my liking. That being said, I read the whole thing and was curious to see what would happen to these characters, so I would give it 3.5 stars. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.