Jul 7, 2015

Book 76: The Impossible lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer

Greta Wells lives in 1985 and is having a terrible time dealing with the death of her win brother.  She undergoes a treatment to help with her depression and finds herself cycling through the lives of other Gretas in other times.  There is the 1918 version and a 1941 version as well as her own time 1985.

In all of these times the same people are there and each of the Gretas try to fix what they believe is wrong in each era.

I love the concept of this book and the idea to use the cycling time travel as a device to explore issues.  But one main factor felt wrong to me and the whole book rang a bit hollow to me.  In the book I am suppose to believe that Greta and Nathan in 1985 are so very much in love.  I never bought into that and I think it made me miss the emotion the author was trying to evoke.  Also I struggled with the need for Greta to out her brother in his past lives, that if he was just able to be with his 1985 soul mate he would be freed and happy.  Even if she felt this way, I think she was destructive and short-sided on history.  It is not that easy to erase the struggle of homosexuals in the past.  Should they have had to of lived a closeted a fearful life?  Absolutely not, but I can't go back and change it.  Even in her time, 1985, it was not easy to be gay....easier, but no picnic.


So in the end, yes I was engaged in the reading of the book and wanted to see where it went, but ultimately I wanted it ti go somewhere else and that dissapointed me a bit.  I thought I had found a new author who likes to play with time and its effects (He also wrote Max Tivoli) but in the end he does not hit my emotional sweet spot.  I am a bit let down.