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The Beauty of Impossible Things Reviews

The Beauty of Impossible Things by Rachel Donohue

The Beauty of Impossible Things

Rachel Donohue

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: Corvus
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Publication date: 6 May 2021
ISBN: 9781838952143

This perfect slice of Summer Gothic is a darkly beguiling coming-of-age tale, threaded with fading seaside glamour and simmering heat, from the Irish Times bestselling author of The Temple House Vanishing.

4 stars out of 5
23 May 2021

"a brooding, gothic-tinged coming-of-age tale"

Donohue deftly evokes a simmering summer in a down-at-heel resort, and the eerie sense of a time out of joint. Natasha struggles with repressing her real self and the conviction that “no one really wanted the real me, it was too disturbing”. Are this awkward adolescent’s heated emotions fuelling the unnerving events in the town? There’s no Carrie-style bloodbath here, but Donohue persuasively taps into a sense of loneliness, oppressed lives and stifled dreams. 


4 stars out of 5
Anna Carey
15 May 2021

"Rachel Donohue blends coming-of-age tale and the supernatural in a potent cocktail"

Donohue’s writing is crisp and frequently elegant; there are some beautifully vivid images in the book, such as the description of Natasha as a “diluted” version of her lovely mother, and the author has a gift for a well-crafted chapter-closing line. Less successful is the novel’s stilted and unconvincing dialogue, which robs some scenes of potential emotional heft. 

And yet the novel’s moving ending feels earned and real; a reminder that sometimes teenage summers really do cast a long shadow.