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Literature / Fade

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The more recent cover art.

Fade is a novel written by Franco-American horror novelist Robert Cormier, and was published in 1988. It tells the story of Paul Moreaux, a teenager in 1938 who has recently discovered he has the power to turn invisible at will, a power he calls "The Fade". Despite the cautions of his uncle Adélard, also a Fader, Paul puts his power to use eavesdropping. This power ends up bringing more trouble than he bargained for, as he witnesses horrible truth after horrible truth.


This book provides examples of:

  • Attempted Rape: At one point, Omer makes a younger boy go down on his knees in front of him, with the clear intent of forcing him into performing fellatio. The reason it becomes an attempted rape is because Paul punched Omar while using the Fade, giving the would-be victim a chance to escape.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: What Paul witnesses when he sneaks into the Winslow's house while using the Fade.
  • Black Sheep: Adélard is considered the black sheep by his siblings.
  • Cool Uncle: Paul sees Adélard this way
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Adélard's current way of life as a wanderer started immediately after his brother Vincent's death.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Paul witnesses several shocking things while using the Fade for banal reasons.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Aunt Rosanna got pregnant prior to the events of the story taking place. She wanted to keep the baby, in spite of her parents' disapproval. Sadly, whether or not she would keep it ended up not mattering.
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  • Massive Numbered Siblings: As was the norm for most French Canadian families at the time, Paul has many siblings.
  • Power Degeneration: The Fade eats away at the Fader's life force.
  • Posthumous Sibling: Paul's uncle Vincent, who died years before Paul was born. His death still haunts Adélard to this day.
  • Sexual Extortion: Paul is horrified to discover this has been going on thanks to the Fade.
  • Super Powerful Genetics: The Fade is passed down from Uncle to nephew, with Paul inheriting it from Adélard.
  • Twincest: Paul witnesses this while using the Fade to watch a girl undress.
  • Tragic Stillbirth: What happened to Aunt Rosanna's baby.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: For Ozzie, Paul's nephew who also inherited the Fade.