In Second World War Poland, a young prisoner closes his eyes and pictures going to bat on a sunlit English cricket ground.
Across the yard of a Victorian poorhouse, a man is too ashamed to acknowledge the son he gave away.
In a 19th-century French village, an old servant understands - suddenly and with awe - the meaning of the Bible story her master is reading to her.
On a summer evening in the Catskills in 1971, a skinny girl steps out of a Chevy with a guitar and with a song that will send shivers through her listeners' skulls.
A few years from now, in Italy, a gifted scientist discovers links between time and the human brain and between her lover's novel and his life.
Throughout the five masterpieces of fiction that make up A Possible Life, exquisitely drawn and unforgettable characters risk their bodies, hearts and minds in pursuit of the manna of human connection. Between soldier and lover, parent and child, servant and master, and artist and muse, important pleasures and pains are born of love, separations and missed opportunities. These interactions - whether successful or not - also affect the long trajectories of characters' lives.
Provocative and profound, Sebastian Faulks's dazzling new novel journeys across continents and centuries not only to entertain with superb old-fashioned storytelling but to show that occasions of understanding between humans are the one thing that defines us - and that those moments, however fluid, are the one thing that endures.
Have you ever thought about how remarkably different people’s lives are - that an intricate arrangement of choices, chance meetings, unforeseen circumstances, and relationships can combine to create a unique life path? Or, on the other hand, have you ever marveled over the universal sameness of the human experience? In A Possible Life: A Novel in Five Parts, Sebastian Faulks explores these seemingly contradictory yet complimentary ideas through five main characters, living in five different places, during five different time periods. (Reviewed by Elena Spagnolie).
USA Today A Possible Life is a rueful, pleasurable work, extremely sharp, with true insights into aging and loss.
Los Angeles Times
The chief pleasure in reading A Possible Life comes from feeling you can wander off with any of its characters and find a story every bit as real and compelling as what's on the page.
Dallas Morning News
Read this brilliant, deeply affecting book and enjoy a master storyteller at work... Faulks works a kind of magic on the page... A Possible Life is filled with such bittersweet wisdom as Faulks’ men and women confront the mysteries of self and others. If these unforgettable characters are in fact connected, it is only in the way we are all connected, forced by time and chance to suffer and change, bound by the heart’s baffling needs.
The Washington Post
Distinctively moving. . . These stories sneak up on you, gently ingratiate themselves, get you settled in comfortably and then batter your heart. . . It’s startling and strange, the sort of unsettling insight one gets from the finest of Flannery O’Connor’s work....its final pages offer a profound reflection on the mysterious parts we play in one another’s lives.
Minneapolis Star-Tribune A Possible Life blends profound ideas with compelling prose, and however we choose to categorize it, the result is far more than the sum of its parts.
Delicately crafted stories.
Starred Review.Each world is drawn with precision, creating widely varied stories that are intensely absorbing . . .a contemplation of human existence on the individual level. Highly recommended.
[Faulks's] literary artistry is on gorgeous display as he brings to life five wildly disparate protagonists in stories linked by the strength of their characters, all challenged by the horrors of war, of abandonment, of the struggle between trust and faith, and of romance gone shockingly wrong.
The Sunday Times (UK)
Each world feels complete, vivid and convincing. ... In the end it does what any good novel should—it unsettles, it moves, and it forces us to question who we are.
The Telegraph (UK)
A tightly written, moving and exciting work of fiction that should thrill established readers as well as win new fans. If you think you know Faulks – or even (and especially) if you haven't enjoyed his previous novels – it's time to look again.
The Independent (UK)
Bravura prose ... Critics often underestimate Faulks's versatility: his protean restlessness, half-disguised by mainstream bestsellerdom.
The Evening Standard (UK)
So there's quite a thesis here, quite a mystical proposition. ... [These stories] are united by all asking 'whether individuals are ever really satisfactorily distinguished from one another or whether in fact we are all taking part in the same cosmic story, the same joined-up life.' ... [They are] delicate, persuasive expressions.
Anthony Lane, author of Nobody's Perfect: Writings from The New Yorker
Sebastian Faulks's fine new novel does not, at first glance, look like a novel at all - more like a gathering of stories, each one yielding a new character. Only gradually do we realize how these many voices, so far apart in time and place, fuse together and overlap, like songs on an album, to form a stirring and delicate whole.
Sheila Weller, author of New York Times bestseller Girls Like Us
This magnificent, complex, fine-grained book of stories is about love and loss in all its colors, in all its eras.
It's no surprise that Sebastian Faulks might consider himself a Francophile. After all, a good number of his 14 books are set (or at least partially set) in France, including his three most famous novels, known as the "French trilogy": The Girl at the Lion d'Or; Birdsong; and Charlotte Gray, which in 2001, was made into a movie starring Cate Blanchette.
In 1961, when Faulks was eight, he first visited France with his family. He recalls in an interview, " we stayed in Deauville, which was an old-fashioned resort in Normandy, in a boarding house... Very nice food, rather formal and there was something, I suppose, about France, even then, that did seem to me attractive or different in some way."
As a young man, in the year before he went off to university, Faulks returned to France and lived in Paris for three months and worked at a campsite in the...
It's 1897. Gold has been discovered in the Yukon. New York is under the sway of Hearst and Pulitzer. And in a few months, an American battleship will explode in a Cuban harbor, plunging the U.S. into war... This is history rediscovered through the lives of the people who made it happen.
Oldest romance writer in the world dies aged 105. Books #124 and #125 to be published next year(Dec 10 2013) Ida Pollock, author of more than 120 books, and believed to be the world's oldest romantic novelist, has died at the age of 105.