This is a slightly strange book review in that I actually haven't finished reading it just yet- in fact, I'm only about 100 pages in, but so far A Possible Life is so fantastic I just want to shout about it. And shout about it I did, to a couple of friends I caught up with over wine and Chinese food on Friday night before heading out for drinks for A's birthday. These guys and I have fairly similar tastes in books, so if I liked it, they will probably too- and hopefully, you all will as well.
I'm a huge fan of Sebastian Faulks- did you ever see his TV series Faulks on Fiction? It was amazing. And as a writer- well, Birdsong is certainly up there as one of my favourite books ever, and I loved A Week In December (though I will admit that I found On Green Dolphin Street really hard going). I actually always kind of lump Sebastian Faulks and Ian McEwan in together- their books always seem to have a kind of similar tone to me, and I always imagine that they will be either brilliant friends in real life, or bitter rivals for this reason. If you like one, you'll like the other, and the opposite is probably true too.
A Possible Life isn't really my normal sort of thing though, despite my love for the author, primarily because rather than a novel, this is actually a collection of five novellas, each of which focus on... well, actually I can't say precisely what they all focus on, but for me, the first is about how we react when we're put into awful, unfamiliar situations. Maybe this is what he intended, because when you think about it, the title suggests that this could happen to any of us. But from what I've read so far, they will all be brilliant, and I'm certainly excited to see what comes up next.
I hope I've intrigued you enough to go and buy this book- honestly, it's worth it just for the quality of the first story alone which I for one feel could certainly have been extended out into a full novel- though in some ways, its beauty lies in its length, or lack thereof.
Oh- and don't forget to read A Tale For The Time Being for our next Blogger Book Club! I'll be moving straight onto it as soon as I finish A Possible Life.
I finished A Possible Life this morning- as in, I nearly made myself late because I just had to get to the end of the last story. I firmly believe that the first and last short stories in the book are the best- You Next Time is a sublime way to end the book.
So yes. I stand by what I said before- go and get this and read it and love it.