Review: Invisible as Air by Zoe Fishman

Title: Invisible as Air by Zoe Fishman
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 414 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


A provocative and timely new novel by the author of Inheriting Edith, one that will haunt you long after the final page is turned…

Sylvie Snow knows the pressures of expectations: a woman is supposed to work hard, but never be tired; age gracefully, but always be beautiful; fix the family problems, but always be carefree. Sylvie does the grocery shopping, the laundry, the scheduling, the schlepping and the PTA-ing, while planning her son’s Bar Mitzvah and cheerfully tending her husband, Paul, who’s been lying on the sofa with a broken ankle.  She’s also secretly addicted to the Oxycontin intended for her husband.

For three years, Sylvie has repressed her grief about the heartbreaking stillbirth of her newborn daughter, Delilah. On the morning of the anniversary of her death, when she just can’t face doing one…more…thing: she takes one—just one—of her husband’s discarded pain pills. And suddenly she feels patient, kinder, and miraculously relaxed. She tells herself that the pills are temporary, just a gift, and that when the supply runs out she’ll go back to her regularly scheduled programming.

But days turn into weeks, and Sylvie slips slowly into a nightmare. At first, Paul and Teddy are completely unaware, but this changes quickly as her desperate choices reveal her desperate state. As the Bar Mitzvah nears, all three of them must face the void within themselves, both alone and together.


Invisible as Air by Zoe Fishman is a poignant portrait of a family struggling with grief over their stillborn baby.

Forty-six year old Sylvie Snow is not an easy woman to like. She makes no effort to hide her irritation and resentment of her husband, Paul.  His broken ankle is just her latest frustration with his Triathlon training.  On the third anniversary on the loss of their stillborn daughter, Delilah, Sylvie’s slippery slope of opioid dependency begins.  Her curiosity over Paul’s description of how oxycontin makes him feel results with her taking the first pill.  But the drug’s effects on her grief and negative emotions are why she continues taking them. Before long, Sylvie’s need for more pills leads to poor decisions that could have devastating effects on her life and marriage.

In the three years since their heartrending loss, Sylvie’s and Mark’s marriage has been on a downward spiral. Sylvie has closed herself off emotionally and seethes with anger over Mark’s ability to move on after losing Delilah.  She is distant, bitter and clings tightly to the grief she believes only she is entitled to feel. Mark is dealing with his feelings of loss and emptiness by throwing himself into Triathlon training and online shopping.  Their twelve year old son Teddy also deeply feels the loss of his sister but he is left to mourn on his own.

With chapters alternating between Sylvie’s, Mark’s and Teddy’s points of view, Invisible as Air is an engrossing novel with a topical storyline. Mark and Sylvie are not particularly likable characters but it is easy to feel empathy for their heartbreaking loss. Teddy is surprisingly mature for his age but he is shouldering burdens that no child should ever bear. Sylvie’s descent into addiction is an all too real problem in today’s world.  Zoe Fishman brings the novel to a realistic conclusion that will leave readers pondering the Snow family’s future.  An emotionally compelling novel that I truly enjoyed and highly recommend.


Filed under Contemporary, Invisible as Air, Rated B, Review, William Morrow Paperbacks, Women's Fiction, Zoe Fishman

2 Responses to Review: Invisible as Air by Zoe Fishman

  1. Katherine

    I enjoy your review, not so sure that I want to read the book. It sounds too real life, when I usually prefer to escape into my reading. I appreciate you being a filter for reading material!

    • Book Reviews & More by Kathy

      It is definitely real life. Very pleased to hear that my reviews are helpful in deciding which novels you would like to read!