If you loved Olive Kitteridge or My Name is Lucy Barton, you’ll be happy to know that Elizabeth Strout’s radiantly beautiful and affecting new novel, Anything is Possible, is out this week! I got my hands on an early copy and spent a rainy Sunday transported back to the hometown of Lucy Barton – Amgash, Illinois – where Lucy has returned for the first time in 17 years to visit her brother and sister. She’s now a successful novelist, the kind interviewed on TV, and her fame is strange – almost incomprehensible – to those who knew her growing up dirt poor and odd. But it’s not just her who has changed. So, too, have those who stayed behind, and this novel illuminates their choices, their tragedies, their loves, and their losses. Anything is Possible reads like Olive Kitteridge, a novel told as a series of interlinked stories, each focusing on a character connected (in this case) to Lucy. There are divorces, affairs, long marriages, unlikely friendships, things gone terribly wrong – and ambiguously right. You can only conclude, with more hope than despair – and with Strout – that “Anything was possible for anyone.”
“Class prejudice remains one of Strout’s enduring themes, along with the complex, fraught bonds of family across the generations, and she investigates both with tender yet tough-minded compassion for even the most repulsive characters…. The epic scope within seemingly modest confines recalls Strout’s Pulitzer Prize winner, Olive Kitteridge, and her ability to discern vulnerabilities buried beneath bad behavior is as acute as ever. Another powerful examination of painfully human ambiguities and ambivalences – this gifted writer just keeps getting better.”
From Ed Tarkington (chapter16.org):
“Anything is Possible also pays tribute to the dogged optimism of rural Midwesterners – both the plainspoken, unassuming Lake Wobegon variety and also the Jay Gatsbys, arms extended toward the ever-receding green light. The few who do get away must make their own reckonings with those they’ve left behind… This rich, luminous volume makes clear why Elizabeth Strout has become one of the most celebrated and beloved literary voices of her generation.”
If you’re in Nashville, don’t miss the chance to enjoy Elizabeth Strout’s conversation with Ann Patchett on Thursday, April 27th at Parnassus. Information below:
Salon@615 | Elizabeth Strout | Anything Is Possible
April 27, 2017 6:30 PM
Elizabeth Strout is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Olive Kitteridge; the #1 New York Times bestseller My Name Is Lucy Barton; The Burgess Boys, a New York Times bestseller; Abide with Me, a national bestseller and Book Sense pick; and Amy and Isabelle, which won the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize.
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Thank you so much, Mary Laura Philpott, for loaning me your copy. I look forward to seeing your interview with Elizabeth at A Word on Words when it airs on Nashville Public Television!
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