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TitleThe Impossible Lives of Greta Wells
File Size1.5 MB
Total Pages200
Table of Contents
Part One: October to November
	October 30, 1985
	October 31, 1918
	November 1, 1941
	November 7, 1985
	November 8, 1918
	November 14, 1941
	November 15, 1985
Part Two: November to December
	December 4, 1985
	December 5, 1918
	December 6, 1941
	December 12, 1985
	December 13, 1918
Part Three: December to End
	December 15, 1918
	December 19, 1941
	December 24, 1985
	December 26, 1918
	December 27, 1941
	January 2, 1986
	January 3, 1919
	January 9, 1942
	January 15, 1986
	January 16, 1919
	January 17, 1986
	January 18, 1919
	January 19, 1942
	January 20, 1986
	January 21, 1919
About the Author
Also by Andrew Sean Greer
About the Publisher
Document Text Contents
Page 100

a lamp, and he kissed me and said, “Cigarettes,” so I offered him one and we sat
and smoked together as the rain threw itself against the window like a naughty
child. He said it was a long night, and the army was getting him prepared to stop
his hours at the clinic and devote his time to inductees. A draft was all but
assured. With Roosevelt in office, the talk of staying out of war had quieted a
bit, but of course in army quarters there was always talk of war, never of peace. I
saw no point in telling him what was coming, and I just nodded. Had Mrs. Green
frightened me again? “No,” I said. “No, she’s become a friend.” He smiled and
said that was good, everyone needs an ally. I said, “I thought you were my ally.”
He smiled and said he was, and kissed me, then went off to get ready for bed. I
stared for a long time at Mrs. Green’s darning basket, the red felt tomato stuck
with pins.

Better somewhere. Perfect somewhere. I thought it would be here, in this
world with Nathan. I had fooled myself into thinking that, as a planet with water
implies some kind of life, a world in which husbands stayed implied some kind
of loyalty. But a minor miracle is needed for life, even in the best circumstances,
some errant spark. And it seemed there was no miracle here. Why would there
be? When he did not love me in my world?

The next day, I broke down in tears as a radio play was interrupted with the
words: “From the NBC Newsroom in New York. President Roosevelt said in a
statement today that the Japanese . . .”

WHO CAN GUESS what war will bring? I had barely a rest of a few weeks, and it
was war, again. With Germany, again. I thought I was more prepared than

Yet I was wrong. I assumed it would be all flags and terror, like last time, but
that was not what took up even a fraction of the hours. War is so much smaller
than you think. It is the mind that makes it small. We would scream with horror
if we could not break it into pieces: polish his shoes, and match his socks, and
practice cakes without sugar, or butter, or flour. Drill with rifles, drill with gas
masks. Because tomorrow is impossible, you plan today. You plan the hour. You
take your cup of poison one sip at a time.

Who can guess who war will take? I would never have guessed Felix.

Page 199


This book is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, and dialogue are drawn from the author’s
imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead,
is entirely coincidental.

THE IMPOSSIBLE LIVES OF GRETA WELLS. Copyright © 2013 by Andrew Sean Greer. All rights reserved
under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have
been granted the nonexclusive, nontransferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen.
No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse-engineered, or stored
in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether
electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of
HarperCollins e-books.


ISBN 978-0-06-221378-5

EPub Edition JULY 2013 ISBN 9780062213846

13 14 15 16 17 OV/RRD 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Page 200


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