August 19, 2018

Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

How have I missed reading Elizabeth Strout before now? I surely recognize titles like the Pulitzer Prize-winning Olive Kitteridge and My Name Is Lucy Barton but I happened upon her current novel, Anything Is Possible quite by accident. I simply liked that hopeful phrase. Little did I know that Anything refers to both good and very bad things.

The novel unspools as separate short stories about the inhabitants of the small town of Amgash, Illinois. Many of the characters are connected in surprising ways with the fictional author of My Name Is Lucy Barton figuring into this current work.

Anything Is Possible reminds me of the famous play, Our Town but with even darker secrets hiding in the hearts of Amgash’s inhabitants.

Strout’s lyrical prose pulls you through passages of both great pain and joy. I may just have to explore her previous works to hear more of that voice that embraces all those who transgress, who suffer and those who transcend their trials.

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