Book Club: Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

I was not able to attend the book club meeting, so I don’t have much input on what the other members thought.

From the Author’s website: An unforgettable cast of small-town characters copes with love and loss in this new work of fiction by #1 bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout.

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.


This is one of those books I had to resort to checking out the Amazon reviews to see what was up….a talented author failed to keep my interest this time around…was I missing something? A big aha? I was listening to the audio, and frankly, I kept falling asleep and having to rewind because I would ask “what did I miss?” as the story would be off in some other direction. But after a few chapters I realized it wasn’t that I had missed something, the story actually does execute rapid hairpin turns and suddenly we are with a different character. Perhaps had I known this going in, a series or short stories essentially, I would have been more in tune. Because I was listening to the book I had extreme trouble when a character reappeared recalling just who they were.
I was able to chat with a couple of book club members…they weren’t sold either.
I think if there had been more of an underlying arc…or even less of one, so that it was an anthology instead of a novel….I don’t know, really. But it isn’t a must read in my mind.