The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko

The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko

Book - 2016
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The Fault In Our Stars meets One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Seventeen-year-old Ivan Isaenko is a life-long resident of the Mazyr Hospital for Gravely Ill Children in Belarus. For the most part, every day is exactly the same for Ivan, which is why he turns everything into a game, manipulating people and events around him for his own amusement.

Until Polina arrives.

She steals his books. She challenges his routine. The nurses like her.

She is exquisite. Soon, he cannot help being drawn to her and the two forge a romance that is tenuous and beautiful and everything they never dared dream of. Before, he survived by being utterly detached from things and people. Now, Ivan wants something more: Ivan wants Polina to live.

Publisher: New York :, St. Martin's Press,, 2016
ISBN: 9781250081865
Characteristics: 326 pages


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Oct 08, 2016

An interesting read. It took a bit for me to be engaged with Ivan. Polina is a wonderful character. Haunting, sad, and yet the strength of the human spirit shines through. I expected to be sad, but not in the way that I was when I finished the book.

Oct 03, 2016

Hauntingly beautiful story. Chernobyl's legacy, deformed babies born after the incident, reside in a children's hospital. This is the story of 2 of them - Ivan, born with only one arm whose hand has but 3 fingers, and Polina, who has terminal leukemia. The bond these two form is touching and painful. Not a story for the weak hearted, but nonetheless beautifully written.

Sep 23, 2016

I got very lost in this book. It is a good look at what it means to be human and I thought it was very well done.

Aug 29, 2016

The story takes place in the Mazyr Hospital for Gravely Ill Children in Belarus where most of the radioactive effects of the Chernobyl nuclear accident happened in 1986. The author takes us inside the dramas, traumas, and comedy that takes place through the eyes of Ivan, a "mutant" that cleverly categorizes the residents, befriends a nurse, and discovers love through a leukemia patient. Ivan turns psychologist on the psychologist and manipulates his existence humorously in order to tolerate the existence he bears. I seldom find a book so compelling and entertaining. Stambach is brilliant!

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