The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer

bookcover.phpHave you ever wondered how differently your life might have turned out if you had lived in another era? That’s the question Andrew Sean Greer explores in his new novel, The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells.

When we first meet Greta she lives in New York City, circa 1985. She has lost her beloved twin brother to AIDS and her lover of ten years to another woman. Depressed, she seeks help, and is prescribed electroshock therapy. It works better than anyone could have imagined. Not only does it begin to jolt Greta out of her depression, it sends her back in time, specifically to 1918 and 1941.

In her other lives, she’s still Greta, lives in the same area of New York, and has the same family and friends. But the choices she’s made and can make as she shifts from decade to decade are affected by the social customs of the time. The book follows Greta as she discovers things about herself and the people she loves that sadden, delight and surprise her. There’s a lot of interesting observations about the tradeoffs made no matter when people live.

I’ll stop there with the plot summary, because I don’t want to give any more away. I liked this book very much and was fascinated by the choices Greta faces. This book reminded me of another recent book, Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life. I found Atkinson’s book to be more about how you would change your behavior if given some foreknowledge and a second chance, while this story was more about how the same person’s life would change (or not) based on when they lived.

An engrossing, engaging read with a sympathetic main character, I would recommend it to fans of Jack Finney’s Time And Again, The Time Traveler’s Wife and fans of time travel books in general.

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.

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2 Responses to “The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer”

  1. Jackie Cangro Says:

    This sounds like an interesting read. I’ll plan to check it out soon. Thank you for the terrific review.

  2. Janet Says:

    Thanks for following our blog! I hope you enjoy the Impossible Lives of Greta Wells as much as I did.

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