The Summer of Impossible Things
by Rowan Coleman
A title like The Summer of Impossible Things seems to promise something at once epic and light, whimsical and just a little magic. Rowan Coleman delivers all of that in this fantasy that shuttles between 2007 and 1977. Our heroine is Luna, who as the narrative starts is grieving over the death of Marissa, her rather melancholy mother, eight months earlier. Luna’s pain is shared by her sister, Pia, a more fragile, damaged version of herself. When the pair return to Marissa’s home in Bay Ridge, part of Brooklyn, Luna also reverses 30 years to encounter her mother as a young scientist. Apart from checking out the filming of Saturday Night Fever, Luna has a double mission: to find out who her father is; and to prevent the “really bad thing” that alters her mother’s life. But where exactly would this leave Luna herself? Cowan’s breezy, emotive and intelligent prose breathes new life into a well-trodden narrative device (see The Terminator , or Stephen King’s 11/22/63 ). While she exploits the time shifts deftly, it is the unabashed struggles of her three leading ladies that linger.