The Wild Impossibility

Written by Cheryl A. Ossola
Review by Jo Ann Butler

Few jobs are as stressful as that of a nurse in a neonatal ICU, and in February 2011, Kira is maxed out by her mother’s recent death when she loses a patient little larger than her own hand. Premature by 18 weeks, the baby really had no chance of survival, but watching the bereaved parents mourn brings back the loss of Kira’s own premature daughter in a torrent of pain. Then, as Kira weeps behind the steering wheel in the Berkeley hospital parking lot, she sees a shadowy room, hears a girl’s voice pleading, but the girl’s father and brother ignore her terrified words. She sees a gun rise, and then Kira jolts back to her senses.

Maddalena Moretti was been forbidden by her mother to go near the Japanese internment camp at Manzanar, California. In June 1945 a neighbor invites the teen to an art exhibit at the camp, and the girl leaps at the chance. Inside, the camp seems less like a prison than she expected, and she enjoys a baseball game until a hard-hit ball comes straight at her. An outfielder sprints to push her to safety, and Maddalena is smitten by the young man named Akira.

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.