The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko
Seventeen-year-old Ivan Isaenko is a life-long resident of the Mazyr Hospital for Gravely Ill Children in Belarus. Born deformed, yet mentally keen with a frighteningly sharp wit, strong intellect, and a voracious appetite for books, Ivan is forced to interact with the world through the vivid prism of his mind. For the most part, every day is exactly the same for Ivan. That is until the seventeen-year-old Polina arrives at the hospital. At first, Ivan resents Polina. She steals his books. She challenges his routine. The nurses like her. But eventually, he is drawn to her and the two forge a romance that is tenuous and beautiful and everything they never dared dream of. And now Ivan wants something, whereas before he survived by being utterly detached from things and people: Ivan wants Polina to live.
Hilarious and full of heart, The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko is a story about finding hope within the most desperate of circumstances, and it is one that readers won’t soon forget.
“A grittier, Eastern European, more grown-up The Fault in Our Stars. Scott Stambach dares the reader to find in the most tortured lives a humanity that not only survives but reaches for something far greater. ”
—Eowyn Ivey, author of The Snow Child
“Beautiful, heartbreaking, and hilarious whose closest literary relative might be One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest . . . a true gem.”
—Nickolas Butler, author of Shotgun Lovesongs
“An extraordinarily brave and original debut.”
—Carolina De Robertis, author of The Gods of Tango
“A captivating, complex, nearly magical world.”
—Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, author of Madeleine Is Sleeping
“An enchantingly acerbic and endearingly charming story.”
—Bradley Somer, author of Fishbowl