A neonatal ICU nurse, consumed with grief over the losses of both her mother and newborn daughter, begins to suffer from a series of disturbingly vivid visions. A teenage girl is swept up in a doomed love affair with a young man interned at Manzanar, one of America’s notorious concentration camps for Japanese-Americans during World War II. Though decades—and worlds—apart, the lives of these two women are indelibly intertwined, and the actions of one will have profound and lasting implications on the other.
At once a powerful coming-of-age novel, a heartbreaking love story, and a harrowing tale of suspense, The Wild Impossibility masterfully illuminates the resilience of love in the face of tragedy, and the power of family to endure despite distance, time, and heartbreak.
Regal House Publishing
“The Wild Impossibility dazzles on every page, with its wonderfully rich prose and layered story. Cheryl Ossola goes many levels below the surface, showing how a present life is infused with the past, how hearts are broken and mended, how at some level, there is no such thing as a past or present at all. It's a novel that will have its way with you because Ossola is such an accomplished writer.”
author of the award-winning novel
“The Wild Impossibility is a breathtaking novel about what it means to be a mother. Cheryl Ossola is a fearless writer, and she has constructed a tale that goes back and forth between time periods with the utmost skill. Prepare to have your heart wrenched by this beautiful page-turner!”
New York Times bestselling author
of Girls in Trucks
more praise for
THE WILD IMPOSSIBILITY
"Ossola walks a wonderful wire here, sculpting a story that's readable and timely. The novel honors its history with austere accuracy, and Ossola captures her characters' complex emotional trajectories in gusts of poetry."
—Joshua Mohr, author of the novel All This Life
"The Wild Impossibility weaves together multi-generational, multicultural love stories that bear timely witness to our depths and heights as people, as nations, and invites us to ponder what's possible in ways crushing and uplifting. Sensual. Heartful."
—Ethel Rohan, author of The Weight of Him
“How tenaciously can memories struggle to be remembered? Cheryl A. Ossola delivers an intriguing tale that opens in a modern neonatal intensive care unit in Berkeley, then reaches back through space and time to a most unlikely setting: the bleak World War II era prison camp at Manzanar in the California high desert. History has largely forgotten what little it bothered to learn about Manzanar in the first place, so Ossola starts with a blank page and fills it beautifully with fragmented flashbacks, contemporary marital drama and dogged pursuit of family history and heartbreak that spans generations.
Interestingly, Ossola's storytelling also takes on some of the flavor of a Japanese kaidan, or ghost story. She portrays history with an accuracy that speaks well of her journalistic background, but she also understands the kaidan approach that a ghost story need not equate to a horror story. What better way to relive the disappeared past—and Ossola's heroine, Kira, eventually understands that she is on a voyage of discovery to reclaim her missing past...and repair her crumbling life.”
—Richard Imamura, screenwriter of the documentary film
The Manzanar Fishing Club
“In lyric prose Cheryl Ossola takes us on an exhilarating journey, as Kira Esposito becomes a relentless detective of her dreams in a search for origins. Readers will time-travel on switchback trails, from Kira's 21st-century life with her husband to a Japanese interment camp in the 1940s—and back again. Ossola’s stunning descriptions of the landscape ground us in a vivid a sense of place and the porous boundaries between time-realms create engrossing tensions in Kira’s marriage. Ossola is masterful at showing the connection between dreams, quantum labyrinths, and daily life. By the end of this book you will be a seasoned time-traveler.”
—Thaisa Frank, author of Enchantment and
"Cheryl Ossola deftly shifts between time periods in The Wild Impossibility and presents readers with a lovely decades-long tangle to unwind, a star-crossed love affair, and courageous recovery from unbearable loss. Ms. Ossola’s depiction of Japanese-American citizens imprisoned at Manzanar reminds us that prejudice and racial hatred lie just under the surface, and can lead to unspeakable harm to many, or reverberate down the generations in a single family. Highly recommended."
"The Wild Impossibility is the kind of fiction that captures the past in all its ache and cruelty such that I don’t just believe something like this story happened; I almost come to believe that this exact story happened. It is a remarkable achievement to bring history screaming through the morning into high-noon for new reckoning. Unfortunately, our country’s political moment makes this not so much cautionary as it is a reminder that history rhymes with itself."
I'm an author, a traveler, and an Italian American immigrant living in Italy. Originally from northern Virginia, I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for 30-plus years, where I was an editor and dance writer. I'm a graduate of William & Mary and of the MFA in Writing program at the University of San Francisco.
In other, previous lives, I worked at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago as assistant master electrician and at Children's Hospital Oakland as an RN in the NICU.
I write about Italy, art, travel, and books at "Italicus: a writer's life in Italy" here. Subscribers welcome!
about the koi image:
Koi and barbed wire are two important symbols in The Wild Impossibility. Golden koi represent prosperity and good luck; swimming koi symbolize determination; and when grouped in a pond, koi represent love and friendship. And Buddhists regard koi as symbols of courage. Barbed wire, of course, depicts imprisonment.
In this image, painted by artist Julia Ogden, the koi and barbed wire symbolize how my protagonist, Kira, has entrapped herself emotionally. With luck, courage, determination, love, and friendship backing her, she sets out to free herself.