From the critically acclaimed, bestselling author of Birdsong, new fiction about love and war—five transporting stories and five unforgettable lives, linked across centuries

Throughout the five masterpieces of fiction that make up A Possible Life, exquisitely drawn and unforgettable characters risk their bodies, hearts and minds in pursuit of the manna of human connection. Between soldier and lover, parent and child, servant and master, and artist and muse, important pleasures and pains are born of love, separations and missed opportunities. These interactions—whether successful or not—also affect the long trajectories of characters' lives.

Provocative and profound, Sebastian Faulks's dazzling new novel journeys across continents and centuries not only to entertain with superb old-fashioned storytelling but to show that occasions of understanding between humans are the one thing that defines us—and that those moments, however fluid, are the one thing that endures.

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Part Five
Anya
1971

It was a hot evening in July, and I was sitting on the porch in a chair made from an old car seat. I had a six-string acoustic on my lap and was running my fingers up and down the fret board, gazing into the distance. There was a can of beer open on the deck. We didn’t count alcohol as a drug and American lager almost wasn’t beer. Lowri was inside the farmhouse, and through the closed insect door I could hear her singing. Janis and Grace, the dogs, were rooting around in the yard.

Times like this, I often used to just sit there and stare out towards the woods. And I liked the idea that Lowri would soon be cooking, and that Becky and Suzanne, the stray hitchhikers, would be there too when it got dark.

There was the sound of a car coming up from the village. You could pick it out by the tower of dust as it snaked along the road, vanishing outside the clapboard post office with its tattered flag on a pole, coming into view again on the low-hedged straight beside the apple barns. It was an old Chevy pickup, painted green with a flower stenciled on the door, so I knew who it was before he even pulled over in front of the house: Rick Kohler with his kilo bag of white powder and the body panels of his truck stuffed with grass.

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Praise for A Possible Life

“A tightly written, moving and exciting work of fiction that should thrill established readers as well as win new fans. If you think you know Faulks – or even (and especially) if you haven’t enjoyed his previous novels – it’s time to look again.”
—Anthony Cummins, The Telegraph, UK
“Sebastian Faulks's fine new novel does not, at first glance, look like a novel at all - more like a gathering of stories, each one yielding a new character. Only gradually do we realize how these many voices, so far apart in time and place, fuse together and overlap, like songs on an album, to form a stirring and delicate whole. One of them speaks of merging ‘the flame and the facts’, our ardent yearnings with the hard detail of ordinary life. In Faulks's masterful hands, fact and flame become one.”
—Anthony Lane, author of Nobody’s Perfect
“This magnificent, complex, fine-grained book of stories is about love and loss in all its colors, in all its eras. I am best qualified to judge the final story Anya, which is one of the most authentic portrayals of a time and place -- the early ’70s in the folk-rock milieu, from a rural upstate New York, to Greenwich Village, to L.A. -- I have ever read.”
—Sheila Weller, author of the New York Times bestseller Girls Like Us
“So there’s quite a thesis here, quite a mystical proposition....[These stories] are united by all asking ‘whether individuals are ever really satisfactorily distinguished from one another or whether in fact we are all taking part in the same cosmic story, the same joined-up life.’...[They are] delicate, persuasive expressions.”
—David Sexton, The London Evening Standard (UK)
“Each world feels complete, vivid and convincing....In the end it does what any good novel should—it unsettles, it moves, and it forces us to question who we are.”
—Lucy Atkins, The Sunday Times (UK)