Anything Is Possible: A Novel (Paperback)
May 2017 Indie Next List
“Anything Is Possible merges the interlocking story form of Strout's Olive Kitteridge with the characters from My Name Is Lucy Barton. No one captures both the decency and cruelty of small towns the way Strout does-the kindness of a school janitor, the merciless taunts an impoverished child must endure. Mothers and daughters are a frequent theme, too, and the story of Mississippi Mary, about a woman visiting her mother in Italy, just might break your heart. Every story in this amazing collection is about the events that can make or break us - war, abuse, poverty, illness - and how we respond. I loved this marvelous book, and you should absolutely read it.”
— Jill Zimmerman, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI
An author who is legendary for her spare and concise prose would seem to be the ideal candidate to write short stories and Elizabeth Strout proves that contention in a virtuoso collection that showcases all of her considerable ability. Using many of the same characters and locations from My Name is Lucy Barton she adroitly portrays all of the conflicts and triumphs that occur in daily existence while probing the incredibly complex depths of each life. What is classified as normal being becomes high art under her controlled, probing and exquisite prose.— From Bill's 2017 Picks
“This book, this writer, are magnificent.”—Ann Patchett
Winner of The Story Prize • A Washington Post and New York Times Notable Book • One of USA Today’s top 10 books of the year
Recalling Olive Kitteridge in its richness, structure, and complexity, 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, the author’s celebrated New York Times bestseller) returns to visit her siblings after seventeen years of absence.
Reverberating with the deep bonds of family, and the hope that comes with reconciliation, Anything Is Possible again underscores Elizabeth Strout’s place as one of America’s most respected and cherished authors.
“Readers who loved My Name Is Lucy Barton . . . are in for a real treat. . . . Strout is a master of the story cycle form. . . . She paints cumulative portraits of the heartache and soul of small-town America by giving each of her characters a turn under her sympathetic spotlight.”—NPR
“These stories return Strout to the core of what she does more magnanimously than anyone else, which is to render quiet portraits of the indignities and disappointments of normal life, and the moments of grace and kindness we are gifted in response. . . . Strout hits the target yet again.”—The Washington Post
“In this wise and accomplished book, pain and healing exist in perpetual dependence, like feuding siblings.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Anything Is Possible confirms Strout as one of our most grace-filled, and graceful, writers.”—The Boston Globe
“Anything Is Possible keenly draws a portrait of a small town where options are few, where everyone’s business is everyone’s business, and where verdicts rendered while young follow you your whole life. . . . It joins a vast genre, and elevates it.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Neither novel nor linked story collection strikes me as adequate terms to describe this book’s ingenious structure. . . . Strout’s sentence style fits these Midwestern folks and tales: straightforward while also seeming effortlessly lyrical, seeded both with humor and bitterness like many of our days.”—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Stunning . . . Strout, always good, just keeps getting better.”—Vogue
“Full of searing insight into the darkest corners of the human spirit . . . Anything Is Possible is both sweeping in scope and incredibly introspective. That delicate balance is what makes its content so sharp and compulsively readable. . . . Strout’s winning formula . . . has succeeded once again. With assuredness, compassion and utmost grace, her words and characters remind us that in life anything is actually possible.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“While we recommend everything by the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer—like, say her recent book My Name Is Lucy Barton—this novel, which explores life’s complexities through interconnected stores, stands on its own. . . . It’s a joy to read a modern master doing her thing.”—Marie Claire
“If you miss the charmingly eccentric and completely relatable characters from Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout’s best-selling My Name Is Lucy Barton, you’ll be happily reunited with them in Strout’s smart and soulful Anything Is Possible.”—Elle
“Strout pierces the inner worlds of these characters’ most private behaviors, illuminating the emotional conflicts and pure joy of being human, of finding oneself in the search for the American dream.”—NYLON