By: Elizabeth Strout
Short story collection Anything Is Possible explores the whole range of human emotion through the intimate dramas of people struggling to understand themselves and others.
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 My Name Is Lucy Barton) returns to visit her siblings after seventeen years of absence.
Helen says: 🤓🤓🤓 1/2 (because it was really well-written)
Let me start by saying that Elizabeth Strout is an incredible writer and I can devour her novels in one sitting (usually). This wasn’t my favorite though – at all. An oldie, published in 2017, I realized that I had read this one before halfway through. Being an interwoven book of short stories, it flows very well. You don’t have to read the predecessor (My Name is Lucy Barton), to “get it”. This book seemed to be a little bit darker and lacking the humor of her other works. It felt like a compilation of the Lucy Barton short stories that may have been on the cutting room floor and later published as the series gained popularity.
In a month of great reads, this won the Debbie Downer award. Don’t get me wrong, this is a very good, well-written, story, similar to Elizabeth Strout’s other novels, but just somewhat depressing. Stout’s writing is beautiful, deep and lyrical, but her stories are also about characters who are so lonely and harmed by life in some way – just not my favorite type of book, although I have to admit I have read most of Elizabeth Strout’s books and have liked them all.