‘Anything is Possible’ by Elizabeth Strout


2017, 254 p.

The front cover of this book announces that it is “From the author of My Name is Lucy Barton“. That’s important, because the books are matching parts of the same scenario: the famous Lucy Barton has written a highly acclaimed book.  In My Name is Lucy Barton, which I reviewed here, Lucy the author is lying in hospital and her estranged mother comes to visit her. They speak past each other, rather than to each other, about the past and much is left unsaid.

In Anything is Possible, the back story is filled in. The events referred to obliquely which strike either Lucy or her mother dumb in My Name is Lucy Barton, are explored here in a series of tangentially linked short-stories. As with Olive Kitteridge (which I reviewed here) there are references between one story and another, and it’s as if a network map is being created here of small-town life in Amgash, Illinois. It’s about exclusion, regret, loneliness and willed blindness, and the inexorable march of one day after another.

The stories stand in their own right, but they’re more enjoyable for having read Lucy Barton beforehand. But there is of course a synergy between the two books, and the technique is very Kitteridge-esque, and I do wonder if Elizabeth Strout is going to break and do something different soon.

Sourced from: Yarra Plenty Regional Library

My rating: 8/10

3 responses to “‘Anything is Possible’ by Elizabeth Strout

  1. Have you read Amy and Isabelle? it sounds to me as if Strout is telling the same story of mother-daughter alienation over and over.

  2. I have ‘discovered’ Elizabeth Strout since I watched the mini-series. I read Lucy Barton last September, but had to find a review to remind me what it was about – which says more about me than it does about her. Lisa, I think all the best authors tell the same story over and over.

  3. Pingback: ‘Olive, again’ by Elizabeth Strout | The Resident Judge of Port Phillip

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s