We All Want Impossible Things

We All Want Impossible Things


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

'Nora-Ephron-style wit...comforting, so funny, moving but never mawkish and packed with all kinds of love. It's one of my favourite books ever' MARIAN KEYES

'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

© Catherine Newman 2022 (P) Penguin Audio 2022


  • Rather a treat ... this novel is less about death than it is about life - the messy unpredictability, hideous unfairness and perplexity of it, as well as its one magnificent certainty: love.

About the author

Catherine Newman

Catherine Newman is the author of the memoirs Catastrophic Happiness and Waiting for Birdy, and the bestselling children's book How to be a Person. She is a regular contributor to the New York Times, O, The Oprah Magazine, Parents magazine, and many other publications. Her debut novel for adults, We All Want Impossible Things, was chosen for the Richard & Judy Book Club. She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, with her family.
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