The Art of the Possible
December 3, 2015 — 21:32

Author: Dorothy Johnston  Category: Uncategorized  Comments: 5


The Art of the Possible is a comic novel in the tradition of Gert Loveday’s previous books: Crane Mansions and Writing is Easy. It is hilariously funny and at the same time quietly philosophical, with a warmth and humanity I have come to expect from the author.

This new book certainly does not disappoint. Bearer of the gentle philosophy in The Art of the Possible is doctor turned medical administrator, Frank Owlbrother, a lover since his childhood of Sagaworld comics and heroic Norse legends. From the start of the novel, Frank is at the mercy of his boss, a bully who takes medical newspeak to ridiculous heights; his wife; even his office cleaner. Then there are the Oldies, a political force to be reckoned with since the introduction of Optiviva, a wonder drug that makes people over 60 vigorous and increasingly aggressive. Hospital staff, the Oldies and their youthful opponents, cabinet ministers and even the Prime Minister, become involved in a dramatic tussle to win supporters and discredit one another.

Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately for Frank, he doesn’t recognize himself in this job description: ‘Possessing excellent stakeholder management skills, you are a proven performer who enjoys driving strategic capability initiatives within a framework of dynamic management philosophies and paradigms.’ Frank is mildly but determinedly resistant to all those who would mould him to suit their own ends, including his wife, the hospital hierarchy, even a charismatic Russian who has transformed the lives of elderly people without the use of drugs.

Towards the end of the story, Frank discovers the joy and release of free running. Gert Loveday’s satire is often sharp, yet Frank’s misadventures are perfectly plausible when you’re in the midst of them. For those who know Gert Loveday’s books, this one will be a pleasure; those who don’t have a triple treat in store.

The Art of the Possible is available from Smashwords, Amazon, and soon to be released on other platforms.


  • I bought this after the announcement that it was released. The other two books were loads of fun, so I’m expecting laughs here too.

    December 3, 2015 — 23:56
  • I do love a good satire but haven’t, to my shame, read Gert Loveday. Like Frank, I don’t think I’d live up to “driving strategic capability initiatives within a framework of dynamic management philosophies and paradigms” either. I love management speak and have my own little collection of “weasel words”. Is the main target of the satire the experience of ageing/the treatment of older people?

    December 4, 2015 — 0:38
  • Yes, Guy, they are loads of fun. Very few books make me laugh aloud. I dropped my ereader I was laughing so much at some of the scenes in ‘The Art of the Possible’.

    December 4, 2015 — 1:25
  • If you love a good satire, you really will enjoy this one, WG. It is satirical without being nasty, or mean, even though there are plenty of nasty characters! I’ll have to look on your site for your collection of ‘weasel words’. Those who manipulate and hoodwink older people come in for a lambusting, but the ‘Oldies’, high on Optiviva (the dangerous black market version) don’t escape either. I think Gert’s satire is directed at all forms of pomposity and greed.

    December 4, 2015 — 1:33
  • Thank you Dorothy for your generous review, and for saying you nearly dropped your ereader because you were laughing so much, That’s the reaction we enjoy most of all. And to Whispering Gums, yes, management speak comes in for a good old treatment. We collected examples from job ads and mishmashed them up into a right old farrago.

    December 4, 2015 — 22:28
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