Anything Is Possible: A Novel
In the rural town of Amgash, Illinois, many people are poor, and some are poorer. As children, Abel and Dottie Blaine dig for food in dumpsters. The Barton kids are subject to ridicule at school for their poverty and their father’s eccentricities. The Nicely sisters, called–meanly–the Pretty Nicely Girls, see their world fall apart when their mother’s sordid affair is discovered. Across Amgash and in nearby towns, men and women find that childhood wounds fester instead of heal–even decades later. Though it’s possible to change, the children they once were live on. Even for Lucy Barton, who leaves town and becomes a successful writer, escaping Amgash does not bring solace.
Though this book is closely connected to Strout’s previous novel, My Name Is Lucy Barton, it isn’t a sequel–instead, it’s an augmentation and a reframing, sparking a new understanding of the previous work. The books work in tandem, shedding light on each other, and the experience of reading either is heightened immeasurably by reading the other. Readers may well find themselves in an endless loop of reading and rereading: the depth of these characters and their stories is immeasurable. This is a book that will remind readers why they read. An exquisite work.