Tuesday evening local author Andrew Sean Greer spoke at the Mechanics' Institute about his new novel, The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells. The protagonist, after receiving electroshock therapy, finds herself living the same life but in 3 different time periods: 1985, 1918 & 1941. Mr. Greer explained how he stole the time-shift idea from an advance description of another author's book, which later turned out to have a completely different plot. We learned that the protagonist was originally male, but Mr. Greer switched him to a woman when he discovered that men's lives hadn't changed much compared to women's in that time period.
The book is full of historical detail which Mr. Greer researched while living in New York on a Cullman Center fellowship at the New York Public Library. I enjoyed hearing him talk about exploring the library's resources, which include literary oddities such as Charles Dickens's letter opener, which has a handle made from his pet cat's paw. Mr. Greer speaks engagingly & has an intense imagination for emotion. There was an informal audience of about 15, including Mr. Greer's husband & a fan who declared Mr. Greer a writer he could trust.
§ The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells
Andrew Sean Greer
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 6:00pm