The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells Summary and Reviews

The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells

by Andrew Sean Greer

The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer
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  • Published in USA  Jun 2013
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

From the critically acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller The Confessions of Max Tivoli comes The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells, a rapturously romantic story of a woman who finds herself transported to the "other lives" she might have lived.

After the death of her beloved twin brother and the abandonment of her long-time lover, Greta Wells undergoes electroshock therapy. Over the course of the treatment, Greta finds herself repeatedly sent to 1918, 1941, and back to the present. Whisked from the gas-lit streets and horse-drawn carriages of the West Village to a martini-fueled lunch at the Oak Room, in these other worlds, Greta finds her brother alive and well—though fearfully masking his true personality. And her former lover is now her devoted husband…but will he be unfaithful to her in this life as well? Greta Wells is fascinated by her alter egos: in 1941, she is a devoted mother; in 1918, she is a bohemian adulteress.

In this spellbinding novel by Andrew Sean Greer, each reality has its own losses, its own rewards; each extracts a different price. Which life will she choose as she wrestles with the unpredictability of love and the consequences of even her most carefully considered choices?

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Greer's imaginative treatment of love and relationships shines again in his third novel. Fans of Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife will delight in following the thought process of time traveling while maintaining a hold on a singular identity." - Library Journal

"While Greer too often skimps on the period details that can give time travel stories a sense of reality, the novel's central questions—how does experience change us, and which relationships are worth sacrificing for—work to bridge its chronological jumps." - Publishers Weekly

"The premise of this novel isn't that a woman travels through time: it's that 'the impossible happens once to each of us'…What this wonderful novel teaches us is how magic works." - John Irving

"Andrew Sean Greer is one of the most talented writers around, feeling and funny, with a genuinely fine prose style and a sensibility to match." - Michael Chabon

"Andy Sean Greer writes with an intelligent joy that encompasses a truly kaleidoscopic vision, reminding me of the work of Peter Carey and David Mitchell. This novel is beautifully sewn together." - Colum McCann

"No one tells the secrets of the human heart more bravely or eloquently than Andrew Sean Greer. He has been called our Proust, our Nabokov, but with this novel he transcends all comparison. This is a genius-stroke of a book. Read it and weep." - Julie Orringer, bestselling author of The Invisible Bridge

"Andrew Sean Greer's The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells is a luminous inquiry into time itself, and Greta Wells, in her transit between three lives, is his most assured creation. What a lovely novel: stirring, inclusive, forgiving, and extraordinarily hopeful." - Jayne Anne Phillips

"Philosophically intriguing as well as gorgeously imagined and executed, this novel will catch fire with the same audience that propelled The Time Traveler's Wife to the top of the bestseller list." - Booklist

"Was all the back and forth worth it when all it yields is a small epiphany? The Confessions of Max Tivoli was more inventive and more satisfying." - Kirkus

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Author Information

Andrew Sean Greer Author Biography

Andrew Sean Greer is the bestselling author of The Story of a Marriage, which The New York Times has called an "inspired, lyrical novel," and The Confessions of Max Tivoli, which was named a best book of 2004 by the San Francisco Chronicle and the Chicago Tribune while garnering many other coast-to-coast honors. His first novel, The Path of Minor Planets, and his story collection, How It Was for Me, were also published to wide acclaim. His stories have appeared in Esquire, The Paris Review, The New Yorker, and other national publications, and have been anthologized most recently in The Book of Other People and Best American Nonrequired Reading. He is the recipient of the Northern California Book Award, the California Book Award, the New York Public ...

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