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Extended Audio Sample The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells, by Andrew Sean Greer Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Andrew Sean Greer Narrator: Orlagh Cassidy Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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1985. After the death of her beloved twin brother, Felix, and the breakup with her longtime lover, Nathan, Greta Wells embarks on a radical psychiatric treatment to alleviate her suffocating depression. But the treatment has unexpected effects, and Greta finds herself transported to the lives she might have had if she’d been born in different eras.

During the course of her treatment, Greta cycles between her own time and alternate lives in 1918, where she is a bohemian adulteress, and 1941, which transforms her into a devoted mother and wife. Separated by time and social mores, Greta’s three lives are remarkably similar, fraught with familiar tensions and difficult choices. Each reality has its own losses, its own rewards, and each extracts a different price. And the modern Greta learns that her alternate selves are unpredictable, driven by their own desires and needs.

As her final treatment looms, questions arise: What will happen once each Greta learns how to remain in one of the other worlds? Who will choose to stay in which life?

Magically atmospheric, achingly romantic, The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells beautifully imagines “what if” and wondrously wrestles with the impossibility of what could be.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “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, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

  • “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, New York Times bestselling author of The Cider House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany

  • “A luminous read for fans of novels like Benjamin Button or The Time Traveler’s Wife.”

    Barnes&Noble.com, editorial review

  • “This novel is a guilty pleasure of sorts for anyone who has ever wondered, What if? We’re taught not to dwell on paths not taken, but this book weaves a tale about the magical possibility of what could have been.”

    Real Simple

  • “Elegiac in tone, this tale of time travel, loss, and compromise is as precisely engineered as a Swiss watch. [Greer] manages the complexities of this temporal round robin with precision and panache.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Emotionally rich…Greer is an artful, elegant writer…The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells is a deeply romantic book.”

    Miami Herald

  • “Elegant and wistful.”

    Time Out New York

  • “The magical conceit here is well earned and imagined rather than gimmicky, and Greer writes with an acute sensitivity for the wonderment that underpins the human experience.”

    Daily Beast

  • “Greer’s imaginative treatment of love and relationships shines again.”

    Library Journal

  • “Philosophically intriguing as well as gorgeously imagind and executed.”


  • Selected for the July 2013 Indie Next List
  • One of the New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books of 2013
  • A Barnes & Noble Editor’s Recommendation
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