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Invisible: A Novel (Random House Reader's Circle) Paperback – December 11, 2012

3.8 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Dana Carlson thought she had left Black Bear behind. The sleepy little town in northern Minnesota couldn’t compete with Chicago, with its rush of busy people and the skyscrapers that Dana demolishes for a living. Since Dana’s falling out with her sister, Julie, Dana hasn’t been in touch with anyone from Black Bear. When an unexpected phone call from Julie’s daughter, Peyton, reveals that Julie is desperately ill with kidney disease, Dana drops everything to return to the tiny town. Although Dana doesn’t arrive in time to save Julie, she builds a relationship with Peyton and takes on a crusade very dear to Julie’s heart. A layered, nuanced story of family, forgiveness, and rediscovered memories, this is a warm and emotional novel. It is voiced by Dana and Peyton in alternating chapters, and Buckley excels at offering two very different viewpoints of the same situation. The thrilling story of Dana’s crusade will remind readers of the best parts of the movie Erin Brockovich, and fans of Deborah Copaken Kogan and Fanny Blake are sure to enjoy this tender, tautly paced novel. --Stephanie Turza


“Beautifully written and unsettling . . . leaves you with a lingering sense of dread long after you close the last page.”—Chevy Stevens
“Family secrets, environmental crises, complex characters, and lyrical, thoughtful prose: What’s not to love here? This richly layered story will remain with you well past the final page.”—Emilie Richards, author of One Mountain Away
“Carla Buckley once again reveals the frightening things we can’t see. Invisible made me question everything surrounding us in our homes and our neighborhoods. Do we really know what we’re touching? Do we even know our own families? This chilling book reminds us of what’s important in our lives.”—Randy Susan Meyers, author of The Murderer’s Daughters

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Product Details

  • Series: Random House Reader's Circle
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (December 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780440246053
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440246053
  • ASIN: 0440246059
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #398,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This novel offered so many different elements; compassion, addiction, mystery, a cluster of unexplained illness, and an emotional journey. I became swept up in the tale, the characters and discovering the truth.

The prologue left me baffled as we jump ahead sixteen years but the author slowly revealed things and the pieces began to click into place.We meet Dana Carlson a demolition expert who is in the middle of taking down an abandoned building when she gets a phone call from Black Bear, Minnesota. The call is from Peyton; her sister's child, the one she has not seen since her birth sixteen years ago. She learns her sister is dying and after all these years she heads back to Black Bear and the secrets she has buried there. The tale that unfolds has several stories lines and each kept me entangled as Dana confronts her past and races to protect the people of Black Bear.

The tale is told from the POV's of Dana and that of sixteen year old Peyton. Dana is complicated in the beginning and her motives unclear, but as we slide back and catch glimpses of her past I came to respect and adore her. I will not give things away, but Dana is one tough cookie, who loves unconditionally with great sacrifice. Her only shortcoming in my opinion was that she put the needs of everyone else first and it cost her and her family. Peyton despite some rocky times has grown up secure in the fact that her parents love her, she is compassionate about fish, and at the beginning of each of her chapters she tells us about a species of fish. Read them because they hint to her thoughts and emotions. I liked Peyton, she is kind of a loner and I became emotionally attached to her. Peyton's emotions were raw and felt real. I thought Buckley did a great job of developing the characters.
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Format: Paperback
Carla Buckley

My summary...short...to the point...

Two sisters with a 16 year old secret have not seen each other in years. Tragedy brings one sister back home...and opens up a ton of secrets.

My thoughts after reading this book...

Hmmm...this was one of those lovely books...that begins with one old secret and just sort of meanders around to reveal quite a few old secrets. There is dysfunction and anger and sadness and it's always a great story when one of the main characters has been gone for a while and then comes home abruptly. This is the case with Dana. She hasn't seen her sister in years, she's been an absentee aunt, but a phone call from her niece Peyton brings her home. Her sister is ill...possibly dying...Dana has major issues with her own job...so she heads home to the town where she grew up. She is not really welcomed by her niece or her brother in law and once she begins digging into why so many people in the town are ill...she is even less welcome.

What I loved about this book...

I loved the characters and their interactions with each other. There were lots of emotional tirades and lots of secrets in this town. The plant that was making people ill was also the life of the town...almost everyone worked there. People had strong feelings about Dana and believed that she was a trouble maker. I also loved the writings about fish at the beginning of Peyton's chapters...she loved the ocean.

What I did not love...

There really wasn't anything that I didn't like about this book. I had a difficult time putting it down. It had great short chapters that sped by. I was caught up in it and literally read it in a day. Whew!

Final thoughts...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I did not enjoy this book as much as I did the other two books I've read by Carla Buckley (The Things That Keep Us Here, The Deepest Secret). Like The Things That Keep Us Here and The Deepest Secret, Invisible deals with tragedy and fear on a microcosmic level.

Dana is a partner in a demolition company. She gets a call from her sister's teenage daughter, Peyton, while on a job site. Peyton bears the shocking news that Dana's sister needs a kidney donor and Peyton is not a match. Dana must return to a home that she has not seen for 16 years and face the people she left behind.

The story is told from both Dana and Peyton's perspective. I am not a huge fan of the chapter openings describing sea life. I felt like I could have 'gotten there' without the not so subtle push from the author. I will not give any spoilers, however I was also unsure how many of the 'reveals' were meant to be a surprise. At times, there was so much foreshadowing, I could easily tell what was coming. This may have been purposeful.

One of Carla Buckley's strengths in her other books I've read is the ability to allow the reader to empathize with a protagonist who makes a decision that would be morally abhorrent under normal circumstances.

I did not find Dana to be particularly empathetic in this story.

I would recommend either of Carla Buckley's other books over Invisible.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Where is the ending? I hate it when a book just stops as this one does. It's as if the author got tired of writing and just quit before finishing the story. And why is it that every time the phrase "if fish" came out spelled "iffish"? There were a couple of others instances like that in the book, too. And, as another reviewer pointed out, there are story lines left dangling all over the place I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone.
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