"The only thing that is impossible is the thing that no one imagines." Einstein
If you could change the past, would you?
Thirty years ago, something terrible happened to Luna’s mother. Now, on a trip back to Brooklyn to settle her mother's affairs following her death, Luna realises she has the chance to change things and save her mother's life.
But just how much will she have to sacrifice in order to change the course of time?
This book has the most stunning cover I have seen in a long time and if it doesn't beg to be picked up and read with love, care and attention then just what kind of reader are you?!!
And not only does it have the most stunning cover, it has the most stunning story recounted throughout it's pages. Coleman's writing is beautiful, It is pretty, dreamlike, poetic, simple and poignant. This is a book to be revelled in. The reader needs to savour the clever combination of themes of imagination, belief and love with rational explanation and science. Together Coleman weaves all of this into a tale that is not only magical but also feels real and not beyond the realms of possibility.
This book, as the title suggests, is about embracing the impossible, putting your rational scientific thoughts to the side and prioritising love, happiness and family. But it is not a light, fluffy, romanticised, unrealistic novel that requires you to suspend belief and relish in a sentimental ending - no, this book tackles rape, abuse, dysfunctional families and unhappiness. The story is not just about saving what you love but also about justice for those who have suffered and punishment for those who hurt, abuse and take advantage of others.
In some ways this story is also about solving a mystery. Luna and her sister return to their mother's house to discover a past they never knew of and one that changes all that Luna knew about her life. Interestingly the key facts about the past and what has happened are shared very early on so the reader is not so much trying to solve the clues and watch for the hints but there is still a level of tension and there are still missing pieces to the jigsaw which are not revealed until the end through some very well executed twists.
I loved the writing and I loved the inclusion of quotes from scientists, authors and philosophers. I noted down lots of aspirational lines about the impossible, the importance of imagination, belief and hope. I loved the contrast of this more lyrical writing with the scientific language and the inclusion of physics. Luna regularly uses her scientific background to try and grapple with what is happening to her as she seems to be able to slip forward and back through time and appears to be able to change the course of her mother's life. This works really well because it illustrates the real dilemma that Luna faces about having the chance to change something and the disbelief that what is happening to her is impossible and yet possible at the same time. By incorporating discussion of physics and neuroscience, Coleman gets her readers on board and makes them more than willing to accept Luna's unique situation.
"That's not possible. And yet it's true all the same."
The book is divided up into "days" running from the 7th July to the 13th July which I found effective - particularly in a novel where the concept of time is shown to be less linear and more fluid, something we force ourselves to conform to without really considering other possibilities about how our histories, stories, moments and memories echo and overlap each other. Each section has a quote which reflect the deeper messages and ideas that Coleman has subtly woven into her book. It also reminds the reader that this novel has a darker aspect to it, which again is physically reflected in the blackout that envelops Brooklyn. The blackout is used by Coleman to emphasise a sense of threat, trouble and danger which is also chasing the key characters. She also uses it to create an almost unearthly atmosphere of stillness, a sense of losing our bearings and losing sight of the things which root us, guide us and centre us - a fascinating idea in a novel exploring time travel!
I thoroughly enjoyed the ending. I may have dabbed away a tear or two. Without giving any spoilers away, The Summer of Impossible Things is a story of fate, alignment, bravery, courage and something everyone wishes they had - the chance to fight for extra time with those we love. For me, The Summer of Impossible Things has a unique mix of cliffhangers, moments of drama, tension, passion and real imagination and creativity. Just remember:
"Impossible things happen all the time."
The Summer of Impossible Things published on June 29th by Ebury Press.
I was lucky enough to meet Rowan at Harpenden Books and hear her chat about the inspiration behind this book - including the role of disco and Saturday Night Fever which I have managed to completely leave out of review somehow!! I could have listened to her chat all night, it was so interesting to hear about Brooklyn in 1977 and then more about Rowan's writing life and her passion for the Brontes. I loved this book but to be honest, I am hugely excited by the novel she is currently writing! In my humble opinion, The Summer of Impossible Things shows us that Coleman is a hugely talented writer whose novels reflect not only her impressive command of language and imagery, but also of complex plots and fascinating characters. I cannot wait.
Oh, and while your here, what about buying a ticket for this!! Yes, Rowan will be back in Harpenden in September for this absolutely dream author panel! Come along and hear these fab ladies talking about their books.
For more recommendations and reviews follow me on Twitter @KatherineSunde3 or via my website bibliomaniacuk.co.uk