Tag Archives: time travel

Book Diva Review: The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells

the impossible The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells, by Andrew Sean Greer is an interesting take on life and how it is lived throughout the realms of time.

Although the novel has the appearance of reincarnation or alternate lives, for me, it wasn’t the case, as the main character, Greta Wells, went back and forth in time, beginning in 1985. Time travel is prevalent within the pages. The current year of 1985 plays a significant role, as Greta is suffering from deep bouts of depression. She wants to fix her present life in order to make it more meaningful. Everything has been tried on her to correct the extreme depression situation. The last resort is electroshock therapy, which is to be given twice a week in several sessions.

These sessions find her waking up in two other eras in time…1918 and 1941. In each time frame she is given electroshock therapy, due to her depression. That factor does not disappear in each realm. Her depression is a way of life for her in every level of life.

When she awakes from her first round of the therapy she is in the same room as she was in 1985. But, all of the details have been changed to suit the era of 1918. All the important people in her life are still in her early 20th century life. Some of their circumstances have changed, but in reality, their emotional and physical context remains the same. Her twin brother, Felix, who died from AIDS in 1985, is engaged to be married in 1918. Engaged, yes, but still there are underlying feelings of homosexuality. Her lover, Nathan, from 1985, is her husband, and off to war. She realizes she no longer wants to be married.

When she wakes up to find herself in 1941, she is married with a child. She is a devoted mother, a mother who soon learns her husband is having an affair. Her brother, Felix is still dealing with issues of homosexuality. The time period does not accept this type of relationship, and so she tries to help him through it.

And, so it goes, on and on. Each moment in time is infused with the difficulties of daily living. Difficulties that are the norm for that age. There is no way to change those situations. There doesn’t seem to be a way to change her life from one lifetime to the next.

Within each era there is either a war, or a life-threatening disease to contend with. That hold true in today’s world, also. When Greta travels back in time, she does not do so in order to change the world, even though she knows what will occur in the future. She ends up time traveling for the sake of it, and to experience the variations of time.

Through that mode of thinking, she will be confronted with a major decision. Should she complete her therapy, begun in 1985, and return to that time period, or should she stay in another era.

Life isn’t always what we want out of it, and we often find ourselves in circumstances beyond our control. If we had the opportunity to change one fraction of those circumstances, would we? Would we opt to live in another realm, believing we could find happiness there (not knowing the final outcome of our decision)? And, what about acceptance, would we be as accepting in one world as we are in the present world? Would we be accepted in a different world?

Love and war, forgiveness and identity, are well articulated within the pages. Scenarios of daily life from the previous eras are well depicted, and the historical aspects are well- defined. If one attempted to change their personal position or circumstances, it would not change the world as a whole, or even their own perception of Self and identity. In the end, Greer illuminates that not much has changed from one era to the next as far as social mores and stigmas.

If you like to read about time travel, and if you like to suspend your belief in reality, then The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells is a book you might enjoy.

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Book Diva Review: 11/22/63

11 22 63 king Gripping, intense, a page-turner, vivid, are just a few of the words I use to describe 11/22/63, By Stephen King.

From the first page until the last, I could not put the book down, and that is saying a lot, because the book has almost 900 pages!

The story line revolves around the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and how the protagonist, Jake Epping, becomes involved in the past in ways he never imagined. He is privy to a wormhole of sorts, that is located in the back of an old diner, owned by a man named Al. Through this portal, he is able to transcend time, from Maine in the present year of 2011, to September 9, 1958.

He initially decides to go back in time in order to right a wrong, the massacre of a janitor’s family, by the janitor’s father. This journey leads to another one, and Jake is convinced by Al, to fulfill a mission, that of stopping the Kennedy assassination.

The novel relays, step by step, how Jake tries to stop the Kennedy assassination through his travels within alternate realities. He transitions, emotionally and mentally with each passage back in time. He could be gone for hours or days, but when he returns to the present in 2011, only two minutes have passed by. When returning to the present things take on a different perception. Varied layers and subtleties occur during those two minutes.

During his travels he meets Sadie, and they eventually fall in love. This love will haunt him in both the past and the present, in ways the reader can not imagine.

I was intrigued with how Jake became involved with Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who assassinated Kennedy. It was fascinating to read about some of Oswald’s background, as far as residences and his daily comings and goings. I remember reading newspaper articles, and watching the TV to garner more information on the man.
Since that time period, much more has been learned about Oswald, the assassination, and the events preceding it. King goes further, and more in depth on Oswald, and his research shows his impeccable attention to detail. Things we take for granted, such as a fence, are enhanced in an exceptionally defined form. Even the most minute element is greatly illuminated into a brilliant word-visual.

King takes us on a journey, not only through time, but through tragedy, with his extensive and exhausting research. He leaves no stone unturned in defining daily life during that time period, from architecture to town squares, from clothes to style, societal mores to social stigma, it is all masterfully depicted within the pages. Some of what we read is extremely insightful of the mood of the nation, before the assassination.

The Jake is a realized character, and this reader found him believable in his depiction, his aspiration and his sense of urgency. This is due to King’s sense of humaneness, and individual struggles of good over evil, for the sake of humanity.

King writes masterfully, and with clarity and cognizance. This is one novel that is not a horror-based one, but rather one that tackles an age-old question. King leaves us to ponder, to question, to envision what our world might look like, today, if we could actually go back in time and change the course of history. By changing the course of history, what would the present be like? Would it be better or worse? Would the positives outweigh the negatives, or vice versa? If you change one aspect, it affects the entire world. One event is just a small measurement or particle of the whole, the entirety of the planet.

I highly recommend 11/22/63, by Stephen King, to everyone!

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