We All Want Impossible Things

We All Want Impossible Things

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


Brought to you by Penguin.

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

When Edi is diagnosed with the final stages of terminal ovarian cancer, she makes the painstaking decision to leave behind her husband and son to move to a hospice down the road from Ash. Fierce and loving, Ash's world reshapes around the rhythms of Edi's palliative care, from chipped ice and watermelon cubes to music therapy; from inadvisable Pringle-consumption to impromptu excursions out into the frozen Massachusetts winter night.

As the novel winds to its powerful conclusion, We All Want Impossible Things' unforgettable characters and the forcefields of love between them will touch readers to the core, throwing the full panorama - the humour, compassion and absurdity - of not only dying, but also of living, into bold relief.

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

© Catherine Newman 2023 (P) Penguin Audio 2023


  • 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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