Anything Is Possible

Anything Is Possible

Book - 2017 | First edition
Average Rating:
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Here are two sisters: One trades self-respect for a wealthy husband while the other finds in the pages of a book a kindred spirit who changes her life. The janitor at the local school has his faith tested in an encounter with an isolated man he has come to help; a grown daughter longs for mother love even as she comes to accept her mother's happiness in a foreign country; and the adult Lucy Barton (the heroine of the author's 2016 novel My name is Lucy Barton) returns to visit her siblings after seventeen years of absence.
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2017]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780812989403
0812989406
9781683243939
1683243935
9781524774905
1524774901
Characteristics: 254 pages ; 22 cm

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m
mighty_mom
Jan 16, 2018

A string of short stories threaded together by location and one character. It should be read quickly because it's so hard to keep the people and connections straight. The stories can be insightful about their character's secrets, but there is very little happiness here. I give it 3 stars because this is a Pulitzer prize winning author, but this is not a prize winning book.

l
llwboston
Jan 04, 2018

This is my favorite of the four Elizabeth Strout novels that I've read (incl. Olive Kittredge, My Name is Lucy Barton, The Burgess Boys). Beautiful portraits of men and women trying to reshape their own futures, which may seem predetermined by the lasting effects of childhood poverty, family disruption and shame.

A quite audacious beginning for a 21st century work features a man coming to terms with his faith in God. The stories that follow are at times inspiring, at times horrifying, at times both. All contain revelations about how people and their relationships change.

One very witty thread that runs through the novel is the responses to the publication of Lucy Barton's new book. Perhaps inspired by Elizabeth Strout's own experience? Many of the characters are connected to the long absent Lucy Barton, and these stories show how someone can remain present in the interior lives of the people they encounter even after losing contact.

m
MaureenWilliamson
Dec 13, 2017

I found this book difficult to follow and to keep track of the characters. I gave up trying and didn't finish the book. Not even sure what the story line truly is.

u
umass76
Oct 23, 2017

Fantastic read. Elizabeth Street makes all characters come to life. Beautiful, concise story teller.

x
xiaojunbpl12
Oct 11, 2017

More possible than impressive, or less impossible than authentic, giving me a blurred vision not caused by welled up eyes. Many characters appear overkill when first appeared, only some recovered in the later chapter after connect the dots.

o
ownedbydoxies
Oct 03, 2017

Usually I'm not a fan of short stories, because I often find them quite abrupt; just when I get interested in them they end! But in the case of this collection I couldn't put the book down. The author weaves together the histories and lives of several people who all grew up in a small mid-west American town. There is so much pathos, such feeling for those who grew up under terribly poor or mistreated circumstances, and how they face their lives as adults. Really intriguing and honestly addictive, all the characters are somehow connected through circumstances to Lucy Barton.

j
jeanie123
Sep 13, 2017

Perhaps I was a little more distracted than usual while I was reading this book, but I found it quite difficult to hold on to the thread that runs through each story and connects the characters. The author's writing is beautiful, emotional and succinct. I enjoyed Olive Kitteridge immensely and I really liked My Name is Lucy Barton as well. I would suggest to any reader that they read this book over a short time period and in as few sessions as possible. It's a great book worth reading but I found it challenging.

r
redtayres
Aug 11, 2017

One doesn't need a chart of connective tissue to link the characters in one story to that in the next though it sometimes felt like it'd be desirable to have had such a chart. Still, each story stands on its own, as it is meant to do, so such a reference sheet is not required.

I much prefer the longer story format over that of the short story thus I found this book a bit less satisfying than the Strout novels I've past consumed. The author's voice though, is crystal clear and spot-on and that is what makes this short story collection better than the average, and one I found myself returning to often enough to get through the entirety of it.

A very good read if you like short stories. Moderately less enjoyable if you prefer the longer works by this always high quality author.

AL_ANNAL Jul 14, 2017

This book consists of vignettes of residents of a small, poor town in middle America. Almost all are emotionally wounded, victims or perpetrators, living with the pain of trauma or remorse. The details of their lives as they struggle to be decent and kind and find love help the reader to see beyond the suffering to the possibility of happiness.

b
brangwinn
Jul 04, 2017

Although not as good as My Name is Lucy Barton, this loosely connected story is a collection of short stories about people in the town where Lucy grew up. Don’t read this book if you need an uplifting story. All of the characters in the book lead depressing live.

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