Free E-Read: Charles De Lint's "The Invisibles"
In the story, the author explores a social injustice and what it means to believe in magic. The narrator, a painter named Andrew, illustrates how our perceptions of the world around us affect our everyday lives. While sitting at a cafe with his friend, Ted, Andrew realizes that he can see a girl no one else in the room can. Intrigued, the young man decides to follow her home, and is shocked to discover that pedestrians are practically walking into her. She's invisible, but not to him.
The plot thickens when Andrew meets an unusual boy lingering outside of the girl's home. He explains who The Invisibles are, why no one can see them and gives Andrew a very cryptic message just before vanishing into a cloud of dust and garbage. The next day, Andrew consults Ted about the bizarre occurrences, and the discoveries Andrew makes are shocking.
The story is very much grounded in reality despite the fact that the plot is all about something that seems to be impossible. The action of the story really rests on Andrew's childhood beliefs about magic. One moment that will really resonate with readers is when Ted offers Andrew some sage advice about magic:
“Magic’s all about perception. Things are the way they are because we’ve agreed that’s the way they are. An act of magic is when we’re convinced we’re experiencing something that doesn’t fit into the conceptual reality we’ve all agreed on.”
The Invisibles are a group comprised of those who have been cast out of society, the people no one notices. The story urges readers to remember society's outliers, like the homeless or people with such low self-esteem that they litterally fade away. With “The Invisibles,” de Lint provides a harsh critique of our society and the way we treat those less fortunate. However, the author offers an optimistic ending to this hard-hitting story, one that will leave readers contemplating what it means to truely go unnoticed.
Accessible enough to please any reader, “The Invisibles” is sure to satisfy any fantasy fans and those looking for a supernatural tale that speaks to modern day social issues.
Want to read "The Invisibles" in full? You can get it here for free.