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  • Published: 1 October 2013
  • ISBN: 9780099549222
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $22.99

A Possible Life




Reissued in new series style to match Faulks's most recent novel Where My Heart Used to Beat, which was a major Sunday Times bestseller in 2016

Terrified, a young prisoner in the Second World War closes his eyes and pictures himself going out to bat on a sunlit cricket ground in Hampshire.

Across the courtyard in a Victorian workhouse, a father too ashamed to acknowledge his son.

A skinny girl steps out of a Chevy with a guitar; her voice sends shivers through the skull.

Soldiers and lovers, parents and children, scientists and musicians risk their bodies and hearts in search of connection - some key to understanding what makes us the people we become.

Provocative and profound, Sebastian Faulks's dazzling novel journeys across continents and time to explore the chaos created by love, separation and missed opportunities. From the pain and drama of these highly particular lives emerges a mysterious consolation: the chance to feel your heart beat in someone else's life.

  • Published: 1 October 2013
  • ISBN: 9780099549222
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $22.99

About the author

Sebastian Faulks

Sebastian Faulks was born in April 1953. Before becoming a full-time writer in 1991, he worked as a journalist. Sebastian Faulks’s books include A Possible Life, Human Traces, On Green Dolphin Street, Engleby, Birdsong,A Week in December and Where My Heart Used to Beat.

Also by Sebastian Faulks

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Praise for A Possible Life

After reading Sebastian Faulks you are reminded that at the very heart of good writing is the ability to make things up: create, fabricate, imagine. And it is this skills of Faulks which takes your breath away.

Dianne Dempsey, Bendigo Weekly, VIC

Most easily appreciated as a series of compelling short stories. Poignant, powerful and tender, they are lined by the pain and passion, hope and hardship, accident and design which make up the drama of an individual life

John Koski, Mail on Sunday

Both intriguing and unsettling… [Faulks’s] versatility as a writer is showcased in A Possible Life

Discover Your History

Most easily appreciated as a series of compelling short stories. Poignant, powerful and tender, they are lined by the pain and passion, hope and hardship, accident and design which make up the drama of an individual life

John Koski, Mail on Sunday

It does what any good novel should – it unsettles, it moves, and it forces us to question who we are

Sunday Times

A delight… A tightly written, moving and exciting

Daily Telegraph

Faulks is a writer who gets better and better; he understands how to draw a reader in.

Daily Mail

A Possible Life is more than the sum of its parts . . . the stories acquire power as resonances between them accrete. Only at the end do you realise you’ve been won over by their quiet, glinting virtuosity

The Times

Profound… Faulks evokes a deep compassion for all his troubled characters…exploring big ideas without compromising the human drama

Observer

Faulk’s most intriguing fictional offering... Moving...engaging...poignant

Independent on Sunday

The storytelling is crisp, the characters sympathetic and the philosophical themes thought-provoking

Mail on Sunday

The writing is masterfully controlled, without a word wasted. Avoiding excess emotion, Faulks evokes a deep compassion for all his troubled characters and by extension, for all of us who share their condition

Observer

Within these pages we find some of his best writing.

Literary Review

Sublime . . . a hauntingly beautiful exploration of the frailties and strengths of the human heart

Easy Living

Every story within this novel bears the imprint of an extremely accomplished writer.

Helen Dunmore, Guardian

These stories are delicate, persuasive expressions of one of the melancholies of ageing – the sorry realisation that your life has after all not been as distinctive as it felt at the time, a realisation perhaps best met by the hope that the very communality of life can yet be treasured.

Evening Standard

Critics often underestimate Faulks’s versatility: his protean restlessness, half disguised by mainstream bestsellerdom . . . All these ‘possible’ lives, as they echo and overlap like Anya’s own motifs, add up (I suspect) to a portrait of the artist as he approaches 60

Independent

Delicate, persuasive expressions of one of the melancholies of ageing – the sorry realization that your life has after all not been so distinctive as it felt at the time, a realization perhaps best met by the hope that the very communality of life can yet be treasured.

Scotland on Sunday

Stunning

Essentials

Faulks at his best is a superbly economical and unshowy creator of imagined worlds. They’re fully furnished . . . Faulks is to be admired for his ambition. What he’s getting at, from various different angles, is the million dollar question. What does selfhood mean?

Financial Times

Faulks deserves credit for his virtuosic vocal range and ability to capture the heartache and vitality, not to mention mystery, intrinsic to human existence.

Glasgow Herald

It’s a measure of our collective humanity – what really binds us – coupled with the old chestnut of consciousness, which Sebastian Faulks takes as the literary architecture for his ambitious, thought provoking ninth novel . . . Some people might regard this novel as a collection of five short stories but that would be to diminish not just the literary achievement here, but the fragmentary yet connected sense of life the author is trying to portray. In the strongly affecting end, you realise this novel had something of a valedictory tone throughout . . . it’s very hard not to like this most artful of novels.

Mirror

Each of his characters undergoes a crisis followed by a metamorphosis. Each is forced by the experience to consider the patterns of memory and identity, attachment and loss that shape a life. Almost imperceptibly as the text unfolds, connections emerge. A landscape, an object, a building seems inexplicably familiar and we realise we have encountered it before. These lives, so different and detached in time and sensibility, are entwined . . . It is the kind of large portentous theme that could have produced a grandstanding novel. But Faulks addresses it with a finely observed humanity that is all the more powerful for its concentrated emotional restraint.

Sunday Telegraph

Love, grief, divided loyalties and betrayal mark these lives . . . Faulks is not only making his readers work for their satisfaction, but offering an essentially religious rather than scientific way of looking at the big questions.

Tablet

If you think you know Faulks – or even if you haven’t enjoyed his previous novels – it’s time to look again

Daily Telegraph

Faulks experiments here; it’s mesmerizing. You know these stories are connected. But how? That’s the mystery, and it keeps you reading… Each story, beautifully told in itself, deepens your sense of the others

William Leith, Evening Standard

The device is reminiscent of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, but the effect is rather more subtle. A hugely ambitious book

Mail on Sunday

The book is almost unbalanced by the strength of the last story. A summation of all that has gone before, it has an epic completeness and would have worked superbly on its own

John O'Connell, The Times

Faulks experiments here; it’s mesmerizing… Each story, beautifully told in itself, deepens your sense of the others

William Leith, Scotsman

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