Friday, August 9, 2013

Friday Reads: The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer

Following the death of her twin and the end of a decade-long romance, Greta Wells falls into a deep depression that responds to nothing in treatment.  Finally, her doctor decides to try something drastic and it changes her life forever.

After each treatment, when Greta goes to sleep, she is transported into her body in a different time.   There is 1918 Greta and 1941 Greta.  Some times she returns to 1985 Greta and the reality of her real life.   Each Greta is undergoing the same treatment in that time and cycles into her own life.   Through each experience, Greta learns to love, to remember, to forgive, to accept.

I stumbled on this book in a search for books like The Time Travellers Wife and I can understand how the comparisons are drawn, but this book vividly and beautifully stands alone in its uniqueness.  I initially worried that the book would end up being too confusing to follow, but I never had any issues.

Greer writes beautifully.  He builds out each world in a way this is incredibly real and complex.   The thing that surprised me most was how I kept forgetting the book was written by a man.  There is a strong feminine quality to his writing.  The details he describes are adeptly incredible and the feelings he brings to life are raw and very real.

The story is captivating and while it is seemingly impossible, it kept me in it's thrall until the very last, surprising page.   Highly recommended.

and now to work my way through his other novels.  This is an incredible young writer to follow...

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