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Summary

Penguin presents the unabridged downloadable audiobook edition of Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout, read by Kimberly Farr.

An unforgettable cast of small-town characters copes with love and loss from the number one New York Times best-selling and Man Booker long-listed author of My Name Is Lucy Barton

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.

Anything Is Possible tells the story of the inhabitants of rural, dusty Amgash, Illinois, the hometown of Lucy Barton, a successful New York writer who finally returns, after 17 years of absence, to visit the siblings she left behind. 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.

©2017 Elizabeth Strout (P)2017 Penguin AudioBooks

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A good and thoughtful read.

An enjoyable novel as we get to know people who are linked together in some way. Great insight into how our past can effect us in a very rounded and non stereotypical way. Really wonderful people who are lovely to get to know. Explores aspects of shame and snobbery, with some sense of humour. I had not expected it to end (a result of not having an actual book and not looking at the chapters) so was most dismayed to find that there was no more to this tale. So could have had more!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An intricately beautiful collection of characters

Elizabeth Strout has a unique ability to create a whole world of detailed and emotional characters that you can just follow throughout the series of books. While you see much less of Lucy Barton in this book, we see how her family members and people in her community have fared. It seems to me like a modern day To Kill a Mockingbird, especially the part about poverty in areas of America. I'm looking forward to reading the next part.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Who can ever know?


This outstanding novel by Elizabeth Strout can’t be categorised or compared to any other and deserves more than its 5 stars. The brilliance of such a subtle work is difficult to describe because words in comparison with the author’s can sound banal. My Name is Lucy Barton is Strout’s previous novel published just 18 months ago, and Lucy who left her small-town community of Amagash in Illinois to become a writer in New York is a presence throughout and makes a fleeting, achingly sad appearance late on in the novel.

Anything is Possible doesn’t follow any conventional structure but is a collection of scenes (they’re not really stories): insights into the lives of people who are gradually revealed to be inter-related. As in real life, an outsider (including us as listeners) can never know the whole truth: ‘Who knew? Who knew?’ muses one on hearing of the ghastly reality of another’s marriage. These are glimpses of brilliant illumination into outwardly ordinary lives, into loneliness, misunderstanding, harboured hurt, resilience… Home is not a place of comfort and closeness but of difficulties and pain; warmth, friendship and kindness – those things which are ‘possible’ – come from strangers and at unexpected moments. And just as in real life, conversations juxtapose seamlessly the dreadful (concentration camps, incest, voyeurism) with the apparently trivial (who’s piled on the pounds).

You cannot but believe that these are real people who are gradually revealed to you. They have carried the burden of their childhoods, sneeringly described by some as having ‘come from nothing’; they have eaten from dumpsters and suffered harsh and apparently cruel parents, themselves dogged by their own inadequacies and misfortunes. The strength of the novel is in the shifting perspectives so no-one is merely what we see or hear, as in the mother who left her children to live with an Italian old enough to be her son decades later reunited with her favourite damaged grown-up daughter. The details are piercingly perceptive. Lucy Barton’s long estranged brother Peter buys a new rug for his shabby home for his sister’s visit and afterwards its insistent brightness emphasises all the pathos of the failed occasion.

The narration is just right – Kimberley Farr makes a superb job of letting these real people breathe on their own. As so much is people speaking, Anything is Possible is a gift for audio, but it will also send you to the book to ensure that you savour every word.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Stories about nothing and everything

Undoubtedly my new favourite author. Anything is possible is sad, funny, silly, profound and everything in between. Although perhaps not as spellbinding as My Name is Lucy Barton, it’s still head and shoulders above the vast majority of collected words pertaining to be ‘novels’...

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Intriguing, deeply meaningful, delightful.

This book reveals lives not often given space, the underclass in USA. Poor whites with children so hungry they eat from the garbage. Seen with compassion, unsentimental & humorous , I read the stories twice to appreciate the patchwork of human experience described.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Loved it

Entertaining, loved the characters, slow pace may frustrate some but it added to my enjoyment. One couple maybe a bit too bizarre but generally a great listen and wonderful characters.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Connections

Had to listen to it twice. A look back at the people involved in each other's lives. Each chapter is about a different character and brings in the next character of the following chapter.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Unimpressed

Not gripping, individual stories made it hard to connect and care for characters. Wouldn't recommend.

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  • Percy
  • 31-08-17

Sobbing out loud amazing

This was the most deeply moving book ivr ever read. The characters are so carefully drawn with so few words. I cried several times. I liked "my name is Lucy Barton" and
this book is so much better.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Anders
  • 14-08-17

Patchwork

Not near her best book but still fascinating. Now more frustrating than before I feel the lack of continuity in her interwoven novellike stories. In Lucy Barton it was more fitting to the maincaracters identity. Now I feel it could be a deficiency in the author.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful