A Possible Life

A Possible Life

A Novel in Five Parts

Book - 2012
Average Rating:
6
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"Throughout this novel of love and war, lore and music, missed opportunities and timeless bonds ... characters risk their bodies, hearts, and minds in pursuit of the manna of human connection"--Dust jacket flap.
Publisher: New York : Henry Holt and Company, 2012.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780805097306
0805097309
Characteristics: 287 p. ; 25 cm.

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s
s390325
Jul 05, 2017

Don't read this if you think there is going to be some moving love story or empathetic characters. I was taken in by the book cover (not the one pictured here). The stories are interesting enough that I read all of them despite the fact that they were mainly depressing and purposeless. I didn't really like and couldn't identify with any of the characters. The main theme is human connection according to the summary, but I don't think the stories really did justice to this theme. I'd say the stories are more about humans' inability to connect to each other. It does not seem like Jeanne has a connection with anyone really, but nothing is written to really explain this except the repeated phrase that she was considered the stupidest person in the town. Likewise, in the first story, which is probably the most interesting (and also has the most disturbing description of work at a concentration camp that I've ever read), you are left at a loss to understand why Geoffrey acts the way he does as the end of the story dashes through 20 years or so of his life after WWII. He doesn't seem to connect to anyone; whatever he has with Giselle seems pretty one-sided. The guy from the workhouse has connections with other humans for doing business and having children, but I don't think he really understands the people around him or himself (or wants to). The characters in the story from the future seem incredibly lonely, and her scientific discovery seems to make the world a place void of any meaning. That is another reason I dislike this book; no one seems to have any discernible purpose in their life except perhaps Anya and her music (and even that's a bit creepy). Everyone seems like they're stumbling around through life getting hurt by each other. Even if that is often the truth in real life, I want something better from my leisure reading. And I don't think this is "good storytelling" as the summary suggests.

g
gold63
Jun 10, 2013

Author rec'd by Don and Shannon

m
maipenrai
Feb 27, 2013

1/2 * half a star - This Title is misleading - this is a book of unconnected stories and in no way a novel. It was probably called a "novel" by the publisher for more sales, as short story collections often do not sell as well. The first is about a British man and the horrors of the holocaust - it is the best of the 5 stories, but seems to end without insight and with a whimper. The second (set around 1859) is about a boy placed in the work house in England so that his family will not starve. It reads like the outline for a possibly good novel unrealized. The third, set in 2029 Italy, seems to be about proving the neurological basis of "human self awareness" and therefore the impossibility off existence after death. ???? I have not finished the book yet, but feel angry and tricked into reading this book. I liked "Birdsong" and "Charlotte Gray" so was excited to see a new title by Faulks. I am not finished yet, but my advise so far: DO NOT BOTHER TO READ THIS BOOK.

hgeng63 Feb 07, 2013

These five stories really don't link up. The one set in the future is frankly unbelievable. The one about the ignorant maidservant just lies there. But it's Anya King's story that is touching, tragic & heartbreaking.

m
maven
Feb 06, 2013

I read the first part of this five-part novel, but I was somewhat disappointed and ended up quitting altogether.

n
nhoj
Nov 01, 2012

A wonderful piece of writing. The characters come alive, you empathize with them and you are invested in how their lives evolve. The novel has 5 separate stories that are unrelated. Why put them together in one novel? I'm not sure except to say that a life is more than the sum of it's parts and each of the 5 lives in this book are extra-ordinary because on the surface they seem so ordinary yet in the telling they become special, unique and totally fascinating. Highly recommended.

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