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Author Robert Cormier
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) young adult fiction
Publisher Dell Publishing
Publication date 1988
Pages 320
ISBN 0385731345
OCLC Number 57385491
LC Classification MLCS 2006/43456

Fade is a 1988 young adult novel written by Robert Cormier.


Plot introduction

In the summer of 1938, the young Paul Moreaux who lives in a town outside of Boston called Monument, discovers he can "fade". "Fading" is the term used for being invisible and becoming invisible to the world. His family has had this ability generation after generation. It is passed down from uncle to nephew. First bewildered, then thrilled with the possibilities of invisibility, Paul experiments with his "gift". This ability shows him things that he should not witness. His power soon overloads him, shows him shocking secrets, pushes him over the edge, and drives him toward some chilling and horrible acts from which there is no forgiveness, no forgetting, and no turning back. His depressing downfall impacts the reader. Paul discovers how cruel, evil, and disgusting the world can be.

Paul sees so much by his gift. The ability to fade becomes a nightmare because he learns so much that he did not want to see or hear.

Major themes

Themes in this story are dark and dreary.

This story shows that power is not always what is expected. There is always a nagging and overpowering voice in the back of Ozzy's head (Paul's nephew) that tells him to do bad things, to leave a mark of evil upon the world. For instance, if he was walking down the street and would happen to see a hobo, the voice would urge him to go and kick the poor, homeless man to death.

There are ideas in the story that deal with self-exploration and trying to find out whom one really is. Obsession, incest, violence, and murder fill the book with intrigue and excitement. Disturbing ideas on how to treat others touches the reader. As Paul goes in search of his nephew, he wants to tell him how power is not always what people expect.

Having the ability to make choices in life makes a person feel in control, thus happy and free. Reading about Paul having the fading power makes the reader wonder whether he or she would be in control of this power or would this power be in control over the reader. Paul loses the ability to remain a good person, and he is not strong enough to keep his freedom from this power. Paul becomes ashamed of himself, his desires and lusts. He knows he is wrong, but he can not help himself.

Human's nature of curiosity could make someone get drawn into the bad, dark things around us. Greed becomes part of that draw. Paul loses strength to fight this curiosity and desire. He loses his power to make free choices. The "gift" of the fade does not look bad until he finds himself involved and controlled by the fade's power.

Literary significance and criticism

Because of the novel's content that includes scenes of murder and incest, it has been the frequent target of censors and appears on the American Library Association list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-2000 at number sixty five. [1]

Film adaptation

In January 2009, Darko Entertainment acquired the rights to the novel. The company will adapt and produce a film adaptation. The novel will be adapted by Adam Prince and the film will be produced by Richard Kelly, Sean McKittrick, Ted Hamm and Ilene Staple.[2]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (January 7, 2009). "Darko acquires invisibility tale 'Fade'". Variety. Archived from the original on November 12, 2009. Retrieved November 12, 2009.  


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