The Life Impossible

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Pub Date 29 Aug 2024 | Archive Date 29 Aug 2024

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The remarkable new novel from the author of the multimillion-selling international sensation The Midnight Library

‘A beautiful novel full of life-affirming wonder and imagination' BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH

'What looks like magic is simply a part of life we don’t understand yet . . .'

When retired Maths teacher Grace Winters is left a run-down house on a Mediterranean island by a long-lost friend, curiosity gets the better of her. She arrives in Ibiza with a one-way ticket, no guidebook and no plan.

Among the rugged hills and golden beaches Grace searches for answers about her friend’s life, and how it ended. What she uncovers is stranger than she could have dreamed. But to dive into this impossible truth, Grace must first come to terms with her past.

Filled with wonder and wild adventure, this is a story of hope and the life-changing power of a new beginning.

The remarkable new novel from the author of the multimillion-selling international sensation The Midnight Library

‘A beautiful novel full of life-affirming wonder and imagination' BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH


Advance Praise

Praise for Matt Haig:

‘Magical, intriguing and, at times, very sad. A triumph’

‘Matt Haig has an empathy for the human condition, the light and the dark of it, and he uses the full palette to build his excellent stories’

‘Love this man's books’

‘Matt Haig is astounding’

‘The king of empathy’

Praise for Matt Haig:

‘Magical, intriguing and, at times, very sad. A triumph’

‘Matt Haig has an empathy for the human condition, the light and the dark of it, and he uses the full palette...

Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781838855574
PRICE £20.00 (GBP)

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Average rating from 27 members

Featured Reviews

This book was a mind-bending trip! It blurred the lines between reality and fantasy in a way that left me constantly questioning what was real. The author's prose shimmered like a mirage, and every page hinted at hidden magic.

While I devoured it in one sitting, I know it's packed with layers waiting to be unravelled. A definite must-read for anyone who craves a story that lingers long after the last page. Huge thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the ARC!

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I loved this book - such a mixture of real and unreal, beautifully written and full of magical possibilities. Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the ARC. Definitely one to re read and I absolutely recommend it.

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I loved this book - quirky and not to be missed!

Grace Winters inherits a house from a friend in Ibiza - she buys a one-way ticket and sets off to find out what happened to her friend and why she has been left the house. What she finds out challenges her long held beliefs and views about the world and will force her to think again about her past and herself.

She is given a mission and the powers to meet its challenges.

I could not put this book down and it will stay with me for a long time.

Different, impressive, challenging!

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I’ll admit I went into this book with no expectations, just knowing how many people rave about Matt Haig’s other books.

It starts off feeling like a feel-good, when completely out of the blue, retired Maths teacher Grace is bequeathed a run-down house in Ibiza by an old acquaintance. My favourite feel-goods have some rainy Northerness (Phaedra Patrick I’m looking at you), but I was happy to go along for the ride.

It’s a sprawling story, maths, regrets, Ibizian history and wildlife. There’s a bit of magic too.

Happy to say I was moved to tears on a for occasions, often at the most unexpected points. If you enjoy fantastical feel-good you will love this book. It’s a lesson for us all to keep exploring and always being open to new possibilities and adventures.

Thanks to Netgalley and Canongate

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A book totally different to anything I’ve read before. Magical and beautiful writing. I can’t wait to read more from this amazing author

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I loved this book and raced through it in a couple of days! It was just the right mix of fantasy and realism for me and the gorgeous descriptions of Ibiza was surprising.. I have never felt the urge to visit, but do now!
A lovely story of love, forgiveness and environmental activism.
Thank you #Netgalleyfor this ARC

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Just finished this gem of a book and I feel like I need some time to process it! Beautifully written, completely bonkers in parts but in the best possible way. This book made me stop and think about what is truly important in life and had some powerful messages contained within the story. I fell in love with Ibiza even though I’ve never been! To summarise, this was just a beautiful story with characters that I fell in love with (Grace and Alberto), a whole rollercoaster of emotions and a little bit of magic thrown in for good measure. I will be recommending it to everyone.

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Matt Haig can always be trusted to deliver a thought provoking and uplifting experience from the bleakest of situations and, situations don't come much bleaker than environmental destruction brought by unsympathetic development and uncontrolled tourism. The premise is completely unbelievable and I won't share it for fear of putting people off, but the easy and well constructed writing style means that the reader easily suspends disbelief and buys in wholeheartedly.

This book is a comforting read that helps to foster a feeling that maybe it will all be alright in the end and maybe there is a point. It was warm and comforting and I'm sad it's over.

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This is a fabulous book!
This is the third book I have read by Matt Haig.
He is one of my favourite authors now.

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A wonderfully uplifting novel that will make you appreciate the wonder of the life you are living.

Grace Winters, a retired mathematics teacher is existing in a world full of pain, regret and sadness. She is given a gift from a friend she once knew long ago and leaves for Ibiza to see if she can uncover the truth of her friends mysterious disappearance.

What Grace finds in Ibiza shouldn't be believable but through the wonder and beauty of the story it truly is. Grace finds friendship and connection in the most unlikely of places and is on a constant journey of self exploration and forgiveness.

Explore the beautiful island of Ibiza through this truly mystical and wonderful story, enjoy the sunsets, the orange juice and eating watermelon on the beach, truly one of life's great pleasures. Even those that have no interests in mathematics will have a new understanding and appreciation of the significance of numbers by the end. I feel emotionally and academically satisfied after such a wonderful read.

This is a definite must read novel for all and any with the possibility of having an open mind and a love of nature. I devoured this novel in just a few days savouring my mental trip back to Ibiza a place I haven't been in decades which has now been added to my wishlist for our next adventures

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Many thanks to netgalley, the author and the publisher for approving my request to read this book.

I enjoyed this book, it was a bit odd in parts I have to say but nonetheless a good read.

The story centres on Grace a retired maths teacher who moves to ibiza after being left a house there by her an old friend.

I can't say to much more to be honest as I don't want to give anything away but I liked the characters in this book and its well written as are previous books I have read by Matt Haig.

Overall I found it an easy, uplifting story which I would recommend if you have read others by this author.

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I have never read Matt Haig and trust me, I will from now on! This book is a real breath of fresh air. I felt it gave me the escapism I needed. It’s a magical novel, filled with superpowers, humanness, and life with a thriller undertone? 

"To be human is to be scared of our own innate ridiculousness, so we do anything to reduce that ridicule. We clothe our bodies, we procreate behind doors, we hide every bodily function, we don’t cry in the post office, or sing in the street, and we try to keep our own ideas in line with what we are told we should think" The life Impossible, Matt Haig.

This is a story to remind us to live our lives to the fullest, to remind us that we are humans and make mistakes, and to remind us to enjoy the ‘little things’ because they are huge things. But we tend to forget and take things for granted: the taste of fruits, the sight of nature, the intelligence of animals, the wonders of the sea, the beauty of a sunset, the connection to the world and to others. 

I have been reading this past week while losing my sense of smell. And I have never really taken time to think about the fact that I can smell beautiful things every day. The honey suckles on the street, my favourite perfume, the sea, the food slowly cooking on the hob—how wonderful is it to have the power to smell? 

‘I want you to understand these moments. They are all around us on this familiar, alien planet of ours, every raindrop and scattered particles of light. Life sings and blazes. Even when we are numb to it, when we hide from it, when it’s too loud and painful to experience, when we aren’t equipped to feel it -it is there waiting to be cherished and protected, ready to give us at least one more blast of beauty before the night’ The life Impossible, Matt Haig.

This book is all about bringing us back to the present instead of focusing on the future or being tormented by the past. It is human to do so, but this book will help take us back down to earth and live the present moment a little more. Set in Ibiza, we get to find out some facts about the island and the myths, which I love! 

I recommend this book 100%. Thank you NetGalley, the publisher, and the author, for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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At the start of this novel, Grace Winters thinks her life is already over..
Now in her seventies, Grace, who is a retired Maths teacher, has been widowed for some years and is still haunted by the memory of a devastating tragedy in her past, namely the death of her young son in a terrible accident in 1992. Then, out of the blue, Grace learns that she has been bequeathed a property on the island of Ibiza by a young woman who she knew briefly in the Seventies. Grace's curiosity is piqued: she is particularly baffled as her acquaintance with the woman was so fleeting and so long ago: what has prompted her to be remembered in her will so many years later?
As Grace embarks for the island she can little imagine the dramatic changes which is about to be wrought on her both physically and mentally as an incident while diving in the Mediterranean leaves her transformed in a way which is both ultimately exciting and unsettling. It is a world of magic realism. But what is the truth behind the strange power that seems to exist within the water? Has it affected other people in the same way that it has changed Grace? And how do events lead to Grace becoming involved in an intense and fiercely fought battle with the forces of evil?
To some extent, the degree to which you'll fully embrace Matt Haig's new book (his first novel pitched at an adult audience since The Midnight Library in 2020) will depend on your willingness to surrender to the magic realism which underlies The Life Impossible's premise. In some ways, I didn't. At the end of the day, I rend not to be the sort of person who believes people are imbued with superpowers after swimming in some funny water in the sea. The world just doesn't work like that. Ultimately, however, the winning argument at the heart of Haig's philosophy - that people, where possible, should strive every moment of life to the max - is a very compelling one. And, after all, if if I can accept ideas like a man living for over five hundred years, or a family of vampires or of an underlying secret network of dogs (all the basis for some pf the novels in Haig's impressive back catalogue) then why should I - or indeed, anyone - not enjoy this novel too?

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No one writes about the messy but beautiful complexities of humanity as well as Matt Haig in my opinion.

The Life Impossible is a stunning piece of magical realism that whisks you away to the island of Ibiza. I don’t want to give too much away but it’s definitely more fantastical than his previous books.

I was fully invested in Grace’s story. I found myself welling up whilst reading on several occasions. This book will stay with me for a long time.

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Grace has retired, well, gracefully if not carefully. She has been scammed out of her savings and lives quietly in a routine she is comfortable with but does wonder if there is more to life. When she is left a villa in Spain by an old friend, there is only one way to find out about the house and the more to life bit. Once there she finds out things about her friend as well as her own life that can make a world of difference to the world we live in both globally and personally.

Written as only Matt Haig can, this is a treasure of a read that makes you think about your own life and routine and perhaps pushing those boundaries a little to see what’s out there. A tale of fantasy (or is it), something ethereal that maybe exists in our own lives. A story like no other that would make a fantastic film. (For me I’m casting Meryl Streep as Grace, and Tom Conti as Alberto- which is how I saw them when reading this). It's different, it's brilliant, it's stunning. Most certainly a read to remember. We are connected to everything, we really truly are and to see the light you need to have seen the dark.. 10* if I could

For more reviews please follow me on Twitter (X) @nickisbookblog

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Who would not want to receive the gift of a house on Ibiza? Part science fiction, part Ibizan immersion in pine scents, sun, beaches and especially the sea this is a beautiful story. What it is like to grow old and invisible and lonely but suddenly find a new impetus and purpose to life. Loved it and empathised with Grace Winters.

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The Life Impossible by Matt Haig is an imaginative and immersive science fiction and fantasy novel. Grace is the main character who finds out she has been willed a house in Iberia, Spain by a distant friend from long ago. She travels to Spain to find out what happened to her and discovers that she disappeared under unusual circumstances. Grace goes scuba diving with Alberto, a local instructor who was excommunicated from the academic world for his book, The Life Impossible. She emerges with newfound gifts that will amaze you.

I would recommend this book for fantasy and science fiction readers. It’s a wild trip in so many aspects. Grace is a charming, curious woman who has experienced heartache and loss. As she explores Spain, you feel immersed in her experiences and her journey to peace with her life. I really enjoy Matt Haig’s novels, the science fiction aspect of this novel is wonderfully entertaining.

Thank you Canongate and Netgalley for the advanced reader copy. All opinions are my own.

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Thanks to Canongate & NetGalley for allowing me to read an Advanced Reader Copy of THE LIFE IMPOSSIBLE by Matt Haig.

Wow! Matt Haig has outdone himself, this book is weirdly beautiful!

The overall effect will be everlasting on me, especially as someone currently battling Depression and feeling as if my world is dull , boring and empty.

All I will say is that this is a Must Read! I highly recommend this and I will be purchasing a copy once this book is released. My whole mindset has been shifted and my eyes opened in a different light!

I really hope this story to be true in my own life as I’m feeling very much like Grace Winters.

Remember This: “Hold on, Pain Ends”


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