Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout
A Novel

83%

26 Critic Reviews

War is by no means the main theme of “Anything Is Possible.” If anything, the novel moves toward an unexpected optimism.
-Star Tribune

Synopsis

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • 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.

One of Entertainment Weekly’s 10 Best Books of 2017 So Far

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.

Praise for Anything Is Possible

“When Elizabeth Strout is on her game, is there anybody better? . . . This is a generous, wry book about everyday lives, and Strout crawls so far inside her characters you feel you inhabit them. . . . This is a book that earns its title. Try reading it without tears, or wonder.”—USA Today (four stars)

“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.”—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

“Stunning . . . Strout, always good, just keeps getting better.”—Vogue

“Smart and soulful.”—Elle
 

About Elizabeth Strout

See more books from this Author
Elizabeth Strout is the author of 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. She has also been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize in England. Her short stories have been published in a number of magazines, including The New Yorker and O: The Oprah Magazine. She is on the faculty of the MFA program at Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina, and lives in New York City.
 
Published April 25, 2017 by Random House. 273 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on May 14 2017
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Anything Is Possible
All: 26 | Positive: 25 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Excellent
on Dec 27 2016

Another powerful examination of painfully human ambiguities and ambivalences—this gifted writer just keeps getting better.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Jun 19 2017

In her latest work, Strout achieves new levels of masterful storytelling. Damaged lives can be redeemed but, as she eloquently demonstrates in this powerful, sometimes shocking, often emotionally wrenching novel, the emotional scars can last forever.

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NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Ariel Balter on Apr 24 2017

Anything Is Possible is a deeply moving, often disturbing and heartbreaking, beautifully written and composed collection of intertwining portraits of people from small town America. It does Lucy Barton proud.

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NPR

Good
Reviewed by Maureen Corrigan on May 02 2017

Strout is in that special company of writers like Richard Ford, Stewart O'Nan and Richard Russo, who write simply about ordinary lives and, in so doing, make us readers see the beauty of both their worn and rough surfaces and what lies beneath.

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NPR

Good
Reviewed by Heller McAlpin on Apr 25 2017

In showing such compassion for her characters, Strout makes us care about them and share her belief in the possibility of finding forgiveness and love, however imperfect. In an often hard-hearted, cynical culture, she's not afraid to tout such gentleness...

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Star Tribune

Above average
Reviewed by Kim Ode on Apr 21 2017

War is by no means the main theme of “Anything Is Possible.” If anything, the novel moves toward an unexpected optimism.

Read Full Review of Anything Is Possible: A Novel | See more reviews from Star Tribune

The Maine Edge

Excellent
Reviewed by Allen Adams on Apr 26 2017

Elizabeth Strout is one of the best writers of her generation, full stop. She manages to elicit the epic from the seeming mundanity of small-town life, doing so with exquisite prose and captivating characters...In the end, “Anything is Possible” deserves every capital letter you want to give it. It – just like its author – is GREAT.

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Washington Independent Review of Books

Good
Reviewed by Alice Stephens on May 05 2017

A dazzling work of structural, thematic, and psychological complexity, Anything Is Possible stands as an alternate text to those books that depict an angry, hopeless, and despairing white working-class culture.

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Andrea Barrett on May 12 2017

Strout creates a messier, more richly human version of that character’s world, thick with details and even more profound in its rendering of the ways we save, or fail to save, one another.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Jennifer Senior on Apr 26 2017

Where this book sharply departs from Strout’s previous work is in its frank, unapologetic emphasis on forbidden desire.

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Denver Post

Good
Reviewed by Susan Scarf Merrell on Apr 27 2017

With “Anything Is Possible” — using the sum of its parts to paint the humanity of an entire community – Strout hits the target yet again.

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Tampa Bay Times

Above average
Reviewed by Colette Bancroft on Apr 27 2017

Having read My Name Is Lucy Barton will certainly enrich your understanding of this book, but it's not necessary — these stories stand on their own.

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The Sydney Morning Herald

Good
Reviewed by Jennifer Levasseur on May 29 2017

This story collection for readers who think they don't like stories reaffirms Strout's place as a worthy heir to such clear-eyed but compassionate bards of rural life as Eudora Welty, Marilynne Robinson and Jim Harrison.

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Newsday

Good
Reviewed by Marion Winik on Apr 24 2017

The only real question here is whether you should you read “My Name Is Lucy Barton” before you read “Anything Is Possible.” I think either way works. If I’m any guide, you’ll be reading them both twice anyway.

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Chicago Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Trine Tsouderos on Apr 24 2017

"Anything Is Possible" triumphantly and repeatedly overturns readers' assumptions about the most memorable characters in "My Name Is Lucy Barton."

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Irish Times

Good
Reviewed by Danielle McLaughlin on May 06 2017

It’s a deft, unflinching and beautiful weave, reminiscent in its structure of Olive Kitteridge, for which Strout won the Pulitzer Prize.

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Herald Scotland

Above average
Reviewed by Allan Hunter on May 11 2017

Strout has a rare gift for making the delicate ebb and flow of everyday existence feel epic in scope.

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Fiction Writers Review

Good
Reviewed by ELLEN PRENTISS CAMPBELL on Apr 24 2017

Strout confides in us, provides readers the illusion of an almost omniscient bird’s eye view of the linked lives of Amagash, but even we, her privileged readers, cannot see or know everything. On these pages, as in life, we’re in for some great surprises.

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Salt Lake Tribune

Good
Reviewed by CARLA K. JOHNSON on May 04 2017

But there's no need to read Strout's earlier work to enjoy "Anything Is Possible." A generosity of spirit glows within these stories, even as they unwrap themes of parental cruelty, joyless marriages and the legacy of past trauma.

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Philly.com

Good
Reviewed by Jim Higgins on May 12 2017

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.

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Book Oxygen

Above average
Reviewed by Elsbeth Lindner on Apr 25 2017

The preceding novel was a sweeter, tighter nut, but for those affected and entranced by that book, a return to its landscape is most welcome.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Elizabeth Lowry on May 20 2017

Unlike her alter ego’s, Strout’s compassion for her fellow creatures, as these anguished, lean stories again prove, is as keen as a whip, and all the more painful for it.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Elizabeth Day on Apr 23 2017

Strout is a brilliant chronicler of the ambiguity and delicacy of the human condition. Anything Is Possible is a wise, stunning novel. If there is a theme that unites these stories, it is the longing to be understood – arguably the most human desire of all.

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Financial Times

Good
Reviewed by Melissa Harrison on May 26 2017

Somehow, Strout’s writing understands us, with all our vanities, our small moments of heroism, our fears and our failings. And as each of her characters eventually discovers, what a rare and powerful feeling it is to be understood.

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https://www.booklistonline.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Rebecca Vnuk on Mar 15 2017

Clearly, this is a must-read for fans of Lucy Barton, but it’s also an excellent introduction to Strout’s marvelously smart character studies.

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https://smsa.org.au

Good
Reviewed by Kathy Sale on Jun 16 2017

In this short book I found so much to enjoy and savour and her insights into human behaviour and their actions are an enlightenment to me.

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Reader Rating for Anything Is Possible
72%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 572 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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