We All Want Impossible Things: A Novel (Hardcover)

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“Catherine Newman sees the heartbreak and comedy of life with wisdom and unflinching compassion. The way she finds the extraordinary in the everyday is nothing short of poetry. She’s a writer’s writer—and a human’s human.”—New York Times bestselling author Katherine Center

We All Want Impossible Things is a riotously funny and fiercely loyal love letter to female friendship. The story of Edi and Ash proves that a best friend is a gift from the gods. Newman turns her prodigious talents toward finding joy even in the friendship’s final days. I laughed while crying, and was left revived. Newman is a comic masterhand and a dazzling philosopher of the day-to-day.”—Amity Gaige, author of Sea Wife

“The funniest, most joyful book about dying—and living—that I have ever read.”—KJ Dell'Antonia, author of the New York Times bestselling The Chicken Sisters

 For lovers of Meg Wolitzer, Maria Semple, and Jenny Offill comes this raucous, poignant celebration of life, love, and friendship at its imperfect and radiant best. 

Edith and Ashley have been best friends for over forty-two years. They’ve shared the mundane and the momentous together: trick or treating and binge drinking; Gilligan’s Island reruns and REM concerts; hickeys and heartbreak; surprise Scottish wakes; marriages, infertility, and children. As Ash says, “Edi’s memory is like the back-up hard drive for mine.” 

But now the unthinkable has happened. Edi is dying of ovarian cancer and spending her last days at a hospice near Ash, who stumbles into heartbreak surrounded by her daughters, ex(ish) husband, dear friends, a poorly chosen lover (or two), and a rotating cast of beautifully, fleetingly human hospice characters.

 As The Fiddler on the Roof soundtrack blasts all day long from the room next door, Edi and Ash reminisce, hold on, and try to let go. Meanwhile, Ash struggles with being an imperfect friend, wife, and parent—with life, in other words, distilled to its heartbreaking, joyful, and comedic essence.

 For anyone who’s ever lost a friend or had one. Get ready to laugh through your tears.

Praise For…


“This is an absolute heartbreaker of a novel. Catherine Newman’s book, through deceptively simple language and everyday moments experienced during a friend’s hospice death — funny, sad, regretful, hopeful — is a celebration of life. For anyone who has prepared a hole in their heart for loss, We All Want Impossible Things is a reminder that, in time, that hollowed hallowed space is also there for when the light and love from grief pour back in.” — Laura Zigman, author of Separation Anxiety

“A novel set in a hospice has no right to be as hilarious, charming, and hopeful as We All Want Impossible Things. With Nora Ephron-style lightness, Catherine Newman has constructed a truly singular tale of love and friendship in the twenty-first century. I loved it.” — Joanna Rakoff, author of My Salinger Year

"Catherine Newman sees the heartbreak and comedy of life with wisdom and unflinching compassion. The way she finds the extraordinary in the everyday is nothing short of poetry. She’s a writer’s writer—and a human’s human." — New York Times bestselling author Katherine Center

"We All Want Impossible Things is a riotously funny and fiercely loyal love letter to female friendship. The story of Edi and Ash proves that a best friend is a gift from the gods. Newman turns her prodigious talents toward finding joy even in the friendship’s final days. I laughed while crying, and was left revived. Newman is a comic masterhand and a dazzling philosopher of the day-to-day." — Amity Gaige, author of Sea Wife

“The funniest, most joyful book about dying—and living—that I have ever read.”   — KJ Dell’Antonia, author of The Chicken Sisters

"Gorgeous, tender, and unexpectedly funny. I read the entirety of Edi and Ash's story with my hand clasped over my heart." — Kate Baer, #1 New York Times bestselling author of What Kind of Woman and I Hope This Finds You Well

“Devastatingly humorous and humorously devastating, We All Want Impossible Things is 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

“The poignant and personal story of the decades-long friendship of Edith and Ashley takes place in a hospice ward, where Edi is dying of ovarian cancer. Sound sad? Heartbreaking? It is. But it’s also heartwarming and life affirming—and yes, hilarious.” — Publishers Weekly



Product Details
ISBN: 9780063230897
ISBN-10: 0063230895
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: November 8th, 2022
Pages: 224
Language: English