Ellen’s Pick of the Week: Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

StroutElizabethIn Elizabeth Strout’s slim best-selling  novel My Name Is Lucy Barton (2016), readers were introduced to Lucy and her mother as they tentatively and tenderly reconnected after years of estrangement. In Strout’s newest book, Anything Is Possible (2017) which is a companion book to My Name Is Lucy Barton, the reader takes a stroll through the small rural town of Amgash, Illinois meeting the folks who knew Lucy back before she moved to New York and became an author. In a style reminiscent of Olive Kitteridge (2008),  we see Lucy years later from the point of view of those who stayed and grew old in that town. Life has not been not easy for those who stayed in Amgash, IllinoisCornFieldespecially Lucy’s brother Pete, whose shame and long-kept secrets isolate and haunt him. Yet, there is a basic decency in Strout’s characters which is revealed as they reach out to help a neighbor who’s down on his luck or whisper a secret to a spouse. In spite of their tough lives, Strout’s characters have a sort of generosity of spirit which restores my faith in humanity. If you need a little break from the scary headlines and depressing news, pick up Anything Is Possible. You’ll meet some great people living in these pages. It isn’t necessary to read My Name Is Lucy Barton before this book,  although you might want want to afterwards. This would be an excellent book for book groups. Highly recommended.AnythingIsPossiblecover

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