We All Want Impossible Things

We All Want Impossible Things

A riotously funny love letter to friendship at its imperfect and radiant best


'Dazzling, heart-wrenching, snorty-hilarious...a masterclass on friendship, family love, memory, and the messiness of life, love and dying. An utter joy to read.' RACHEL JOYCE

'Devastatingly humorous and humorously devastating...an unbelievably brilliant and funny book about friendship, family, food, sex, and death... you'll stay up late devouring every word.' KATHERINE HEINY, author of Early Morning Riser and Standard Deviation

Who knows you better than your best friend? Who knows your secrets, your fears, your desires, your strange imperfect self?

Edi and Ash have been best friends for over forty years. Since childhood they have seen each other through life's milestones: stealing vodka from their parents, the Madonna phase, REM concerts, unexpected wakes, marriages, infertility, children. As Ash notes, 'Edi's memory is like the back-up hard drive for mine.'

So when Edi is diagnosed with terminal cancer, Ash's world reshapes around the rhythms of Edi's care, from chipped ice and watermelon cubes to music therapy; from snack smuggling to impromptu excursions into the frozen winter night. Because life is about squeezing the joy out of every moment, about building a powerhouse of memories, about learning when to hold on, and when to let go.

For fans of Nora Ephron and Sorrow & Bliss, We All Want Impossible Things is a deeply moving, jubilant celebration of life and friendship at its imperfect, radiant, and irreverent best.


  • I adored this book. Jubilant, devastating, tender, heartbreaking, I found myself both in tears and 'snorty-laughing'. I know it will be one of those novels I return to time and time again, and recommend to everyone. It also made me feel that, of course, every novel should be written from a hospice. Where could be more true? There is so much love, funniness, honesty, courage, mess, bounce and surprise in this book, and not shred of it is mawkish. Loss might be the central theme - or rather the process of losing your dearest friend - but it is also the most robust and glorious affirmation of life. A masterclass on friendship, family love, memory, and the messiness of life and love and dying. Pure genius.
    Rachel Joyce

About the author

Catherine Newman

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