the impossible lives of greta wells

The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Greer, Andrew Sean (2013) Hardcover - Andrew Sean Greer As we meet Greta she has just suffered two life altering losses … her long time lover has left her for another woman and her twin brother has died. Needless to say Greta feels like her life is falling apart and quite possibly taking her sanity along. At the suggestion of her doctor she decides on a mild form of electro-shock therapy. The therapy comes with a few unexpected side effects. At the completion of each treatment she finds herself transported to 1918, 1941 and then back to the present. In each incarnation she finds a reality slightly different from her own. On one she is happily married to her now ex-lover and her brother is alive and well. In another her lover is off at war, her brother is alive but her beloved aunt is dead and then back to the present. Each life comes at a cost, and as Greta tries to manipulate each incarnation to her idea of her own perfect world, her alter egos in the other years are doing the same. Can Greta manipulate her own fate and stay in the era she prefers?

Time travel is always a tricky situation because the author has to make it plausible. Mr. Greer succeeds. Not only that, but he brings each period to life through accurate portrayal of timely events and their impact on Greta. I have heard this book favorably compared to Audrey Neffinger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife. It deserves the comparison as they are both excellent books, but other than the fact that they both deal with time travel impacting their character’s lives they are two completely different stories. Mr. Greer succeeded in making Greta’s story both plausible and enjoyable. Kudos!