Excerpt from A Possible Life by Sebastian Faulks, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

A Possible Life

A Novel in Five Parts

by Sebastian Faulks

A Possible Life
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Dec 2012, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2013, 304 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Elena Spagnolie

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


When did I begin to fall in love with Anya King? Before I met her. Before I knew her. The day her head bobbed up from the other side of Rick's car . . . I felt I'd known her all my life and here she was at last. But she was someone I was also dead afraid of, because she was too much in me, too much a part of me, and, in some way I couldn't understand, stronger than me. She was more me than I was.

And I had to deal with the fact that I still loved Lowri. But the way I loved Lowri was full of respect. She was the opposite of me: she was fair, practical, considerate, wise. I was none of those things. We got on so well because we complemented each other. When I met her it was like: I'll take this one, she's the deal, she's got what it takes, she's got all I need.

With Anya there was no weighing up and no decision. There were things about her I thought wrong, things I didn't understand, and ways in which she was a lesser woman than Lowri. But none of them mattered at all. She was my destiny, and all I could do was ride it.

"Come on, Freddy," she'd say each day in the evening light, banging on the bonnet of the Chevy. "Time to go. I'm gonna try that new song tonight."

She'd learned to drive an automobile when she was twelve—anything to get out of Devils Lake—but liked me to take charge of the expedition, like a roadie. In my bad moments I thought maybe she gave me roles in her life out of charity, but mostly I knew she needed someone to be between her and the world. She needed me to mediate for her. And I was thrilled, though I didn't let on.

"This time last year I was a guy with a Top Twenty record. Now I'm an unpaid driver."

"We make a left here, Freddy."

The new song she was trying out was called "Ready to Fly," and it made me excited and uncomfortable at the same time. It wasn't a fully personal-history thing like "You Next Time," but it seemed to refer to her own life at that moment. The chorus had a seesawing quality that had the people in the bar tapping their feet and humming along. The words went:

There's a time you're unsteady

This feeling is heady

You know you could easily cry

But you've spun there already

This frightening eddy

Now you know that you're ready to fly.

There were a few things that kept the song from being as simple as that chorus looked. The tune kept going from major to minor and back again, so you weren't sure how happy she was. The final word, "fly," was on that breaking verge between her middle and lower register, and she slid over two or three semitones. There was a "he" or a "him" in the song and if you were a woman listening then it could have referred to your man, but it could also have been someone in particular for Anya.

And was it just me, or was there a rhyme word that was obviously missing? And wasn't that word "Freddy"?

I'd sit at the back with some of the rowdier guys and try to set an example by applauding like crazy at the end of a song. Sometimes they'd look up to see what I was on about, and sometimes they wouldn't bother. I'd first played at the age of fifteen with my brothers in pubs in south London, so I knew the score.

The middle of the set was given to folk songs and to covers of other people's material. It amused Anya to pass off one of her own as a song from the Appalachians. She liked to watch some of the older men nod in approval, as though they'd had enough of this young woman's life and appreciated a real song now.

When Anya played, I was in the back-alley cold of "Genevieve," in the wilderness of "Julie in the Court of Dreams," in the vertigo of "Ready to Fly." And I was in her fingers on the strings, in her breathing, in her phrasing. I was pouring all my energy into her. I was part of something being born.

Copyright © 2012 by Sebastian Faulks

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Opposite of Everyone
by Joshilyn Jackson

"Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue make this a great book!"
- BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    In the Country of Men
    by Hisham Matar
    Labeled by some as the "Libyan Kite Runner", In The Country of Men does share some ...
  • Book Jacket: Holding Up the Universe
    Holding Up the Universe
    by Jennifer Niven
    Jennifer Niven's spectacular Holding Up the Universe has everything that I love about Young ...
  • Book Jacket: Coffin Road
    Coffin Road
    by Peter May
    From its richly atmospheric opening to its dramatic conclusion, Peter May's Coffin Road is a ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Victoria
    by Daisy Goodwin

    Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." - Amanda Foreman

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win All the Gallant Men

All The Gallant Men

The first memoir by a USS Arizona survivor, 75 years after Pearl Harbor.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

K Y Eyes P

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.