- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Viking; 1 edition (4 June 2019)
- ISBN-10: 0143792261
- ISBN-13: 978-0143792260
- Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 3.1 x 23.3 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 540 g
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,827 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
A Lifetime of Impossible Days Paperback – 4 Jun 2019
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About the Author
From the Publisher
Praise for A Lifetime of Impossible Days
The magical three Willas at the heart of this story cast a spell over readers ... This is a courageous and magical debut novel that reminds us that while we can’t change events from our past, we do have the power to change the story we tell ourselves about them. - Sally Piper, author of The Geography of Friendship
Every so often a book comes along that reaffirms the glory and beauty of life. Tabitha Bird has gifted us this wonder. - Cass Moriarty
A wonderful debut . . . An uplifting story about the power of forgiveness, the ability to heal and the magical idea of being able to travel back in time to fix a broken future. - Good Reading
Bird weaves her stories with skill, scattering memories like shells across the pages. This is a tale about listening to your inner child to save your grown-up soul. - Sunday Times, Perth
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8 customer reviews
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The job of a good story is to make you feel, and Bird has most certainly done that with her tale of Willa Waters. I love how seamlessly magic slips into the words so that the focus stays on the three Willa's as they discover and rediscover what's important in their life.
And it's always lovely to see an Australia that I know on the page - sadly without the magic.
This is a fabulous read, highly recommend it.
I loved Willa from the very start. I love her at 93 when she is trying to live the wild and quirky life she wants, but she also is struggling with losing her memory and generally being old. From early on Bird gives us a great insight to who she is with her thoughts and language and how she interacts with those around her.
Willa’s forgetfulness weaves into the writing quite well and you have to pay attention because it shifts so suddenly it feels real. One moment knowledge is there, the next it has drifted away. When you see it happening it is quite sad, but that is also what makes this story work, it keeps the reader in the dark for later secrets to come out and it plays into whether Willa is reliable, dreaming, making up stories, or all three. Something which helps understand those around her as well.
I also loved young Willa and middle Willa for their own reasons. Eight year old Willa is strong and fierce, she is a devoted sister and seeing her trying to do her best but be stuck in the body of a child breaks your heart, but it makes you love her more as she takes on the responsibility and burden of saving her family and herself.
As the story progresses you see the changes in each of the Willas; not just because of events that have happened or haven’t happened, but seeing them grow. There is a clear tone difference in how Bird write them which is wonderful. You can clearly see the different ages and life experiences coming through.
There is no chance of confusing the three different life stages as Bird separates each perspective with the date and age of Willa with each alternating chapter. But even when they are together they seamlessly interact and each has a descriptive name which helps identify them. There are also beautiful pen decorations throughout which are not only beautiful, but help keep track of where and when they story takes place. Gorgeous title pages also break up the different months to help understand the events are happening at the same time but over different years and lives.
One this Bird does remarkably well is managing the overlapping nature of the story. The things we’ve seen come back again and the present day is also the past. We’re teased with snippets of information, uncertain memories and information about characters and history that are in the past but also in the future. It was an excellent exercise of the mind because you keep these three people in your head, each their own character, own person with own lives, but they are also one in the same.
I adore the imagination that Bird has explored in this story. It has magic and it has heart and love, but there are also serious issues happening. The way Bird has approached these issue is with restraint but doesn’t shy away from the realities either.
The synopsis covers this book perfectly and the alternating chapters of the three Willa’s: Super Gumboots Willa age 8, Middle Willa age 33, and Silver Willa age 90, work seamlessly together.
At first I wondered where the story was going and how it would work but about a third of the way through something clicked. I imagined layer upon layer of story, with each chapter revealing a new snippet, so at the end we have the whole picture. A few times I felt myself become a little emotional as I went on the Willas’ journey.
Go into this story with an open mind, be ready to suspend belief but yet believe....because it’s okay to believe in impossible things!
I also must mention the lovely cover and many times when I came to the start of a chapter I wanted to take my colouring pencils to the wonderful line drawings and of course for the Jam Drop recipe in the back.
Thank you to the author for giving me a copy to read, it was a wonderful experience.
Willa is 8 years old and desperately trying to protect her sister and herself, in a household where she never knows what mood her daddy will come home in. Together with her dog, Frog, she loves to tell stories to her sister, under the mango tree in the garden.
Willa is 33 years old and still living with the demons of her past, still trying to protect her sister, while trying to be a good mother to her own children. She no longer wears gumboots. She no longer tells stories.
When all three Willa's are brought together due to a glitch in time, with a little help from an ocean in a box, can any of them change the past, to avoid the tragedies they've encountered, or will the past stubbornly refuse to be altered?
With its wonderful magical realism story, this book made me want to hug my daughter and my mum equally. It was one of those rare books that actually changed the way I look at life. The parent I want to be. The stories I want to tell my child. The way I want to relate to my mum as she gets older. I adored Grammy, Willa's grandmother, and her midnight 'feed the possums' picnics!
I can't even express how much I loved this book. The writing was just beautiful and I found myself glued to the pages - holding my breath at times and crying in others. This is a book I will recommend to everyone.
Jam drop biscuits played a big part in the story, and I kept thinking about how much I love them, and how I really should look up a recipe, because I haven't had them in years. So I was immeasurably excited to find a recipe for them in the back of the book! I made them with my daughter the very next day, and although they were far from perfect with a 2.5 year old helper, I hope they would have made Grammy and Silver Willa proud :)