The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells

The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer

Genre: Fiction
17/Clearly not 40 THE GREAT READING BINGE OF 2016


Its unlikely to be alive, isn’t it? The right temperature and gravity, the right atoms combining at the precise right moment, you’d think it would never happen…Life, it’s so unlikely…It’s so much better than we think, isn’t it?

Oh, I liked this one. I have a good judge of whimsical picking I think.

It is almost impossible to capture true sadness; it is a deep sea creature that can never be brought into view. I say that I remember being sad, but in truth I only remember mornings when that person- the person which I contained- could not go to work, could not do the things she knew could save her, and instead did only what was bound to destroy her: alcohol, forbidden cigarettes, and endless lost, black hours of lonliness.

Greta Wells is 31 years old and has just lost her twin brother. In the torment of depression, she undergoes electoshock therapy to get better. Instead she finds herself transplanted from her world of 1985 and in the war torn 1918. As a Greta from a different life. Another treatment later, she finds herself in 1945. The people around her are the same, but their lives lead different paths. Each treatment leads to another time shift between these years. Greta takes it upon herself to help the “other” Gretas’ while facing the choice of what time she thinks she’s best suited for. In 1919 where her husband has returned from the world a changed man? In 1945 where she is both wife and mother at the start of WWII? Or in her own time in 1985, where he brother has died and her lover left her? The choice is both hard and suprising. (Just to clarify, in each world there was a Greta, Aunt Ruth, Felix [brother], Nathan [husband/lover], Alan [Felix’s boyfriend], and so on).

This book was beautifully written and captured depression in a way that makes sense. To lose someone you love and the choices you make that define your life. The Launguage was beautifully poised and flowed flawlessly. If you could, would you sacrifice everything to be with your loved ones again? It also took a good look at how homosexulaity was treated during different time frames.

If only we just loved who we’re supposed to love.

I highly recommend this book. Everything about it was good. 🙂 As a side note, it took twice as long to read as it should have due to the migrane and I have found my notes illegible. D:

But we do wake, each of us, to find things have gone differently. The love we thought had killed us has not killed us after all, and the dream we had for ourselves has shifted elsewhere, like a planet our starship is set for; we have but to lift our heads and right ourselves, move toward it once again and start the day. We will not get there in our lifetime…What’s the point? A journey to the stars that none will see but our children’s children?

To see the shape of life, is all we answer.


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