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The Possible World

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4.11  ·  Rating details ·  45 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
"Every now and then I come across a book I wish I’d written. The Possible World is one of those... A gorgeously wrought exploration of who gets to tell the story of our lives, and who gets to inhabit that story with us" —Jodi Picoult

“Schwarz blends beautifully crafted prose with three highly compelling tales into one overarching saga of loss and memory.” Booklist

It seems
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Hardcover, 368 pages
Expected publication: June 26th 2018 by Scribner
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Joyce
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 stars

I read the Kindle Edition.

Leo (as he prefers to be known when his real name is Ben), is a young boy, perhaps five or six, who is the sole survivor of a horrific mass murder. He turns out to be the young son of another resident at the hospital with whom Lucy was acquainted whose name was Karen. Clare is nearly one hundred-years old and living in a care center. She is much more on the ball than the home attendants and other residents think she is, although she prefers to be alone with her m
...more
Ann
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a stunning story. Three people who have never met but whose lives are affected by each other's actions. This book deals with second chances and a persuasive argument for reincarnation or past lives. Clare is almost 100 years old and living a lonely life in a nursing home. One of the residents makes it her mission to become friends and throughout the book Clare tells Gloria her life's story. Lucy is an ER doctor who treats Ben, a young boy who survives a massacre. Ben wakes up in the ER beli ...more
The Cats Mother
This lovely but sad book set in Rhode Island, tells the story of Lucy, overworked Emergency resident, six year old prodigy Ben, small for his age 11 year old Leo, given up by his mother to live in an orphanage, and Clare, the elderly resident of a nursing home.

Lucy, who has recently separated from her husband and is on the verge of burnout from the relentless demands of her job, meets Ben when he is brought into the ER as the only survivor of a horrific mass killing at his friends birthday party
...more
Patty
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Scribner and NetGalley for allowing me to read an advance copy of Liese O’Halloran Schwarz’s The Possible World, A Novel. The rating and review are my own thoughts and opinions, and have not been influenced by receiving this book to read.

The Possible World is a story narrated from 3 points of view. Ben - a young child who survives the frightful trauma of witnessing a murder scene and is left with no memory, Lucy - the ER doctor who meets Ben upon intake into the hospital, and Clare
...more
Sue Fernandez
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to NetGalley and Scribner for an E-arc of this title in exchange for my honest review. Wow. I stayed up reading this book long into the night, knowing it would be worth being tired the next day. I love an alternating narration, and The Possible World tells the story from 3 points of view, one of whom is a young child. This seems like it would be difficult to do well, but Schwartz has done just that. A young boy survives a terrible crime, and his story soon gets woven with the past, wit ...more
Carla Buckley
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A compelling and gorgeously-written story about how chance meetings can send resounding ripples across generations and deep into the most unexpected and poignant places. If you loved ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE, you will more than love THE POSSIBLE WORLD. I HIGHLY recommend this novel!
Sue Bottino
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amazing! Fantastic! One of the best books I've read in a long time. The characters were so rich and so well-developed. Highly, highly recommend. I absolutely loved this book!
Jacqueline Burke
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thank you Netgalley and publishers for providing an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest opinion. What a wonderful novel The Possible World is! This story unfolds through the perspectives of three narrators: Lucy, an overworked trauma doctor, Clare, a reclusive elderly woman with no family recording her life story on cassette tape while in a nursing home, and Ben/Leo, an 11 year old boy who is witness to a brutal mass murder that included his mother, and is now living on a psych ward as t ...more
Megan
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is going to be a difficult one to review, because I don’t want to give any hint of the plot away. But I’ll do my best!

The book follows three people –

Ben is a young boy and a survivor of a horrific attack that took his mother and friends. Alone in the hospital, he doesn’t seem to remember anything that happened to him.

Lucy is a doctor in the midst of a painful break up and an immensely pressured time at work. She is called to treat Ben when he is first admitted to hospital, and no matter wha
...more
Judy Collins
Review to follow.
Breakaway Reviewers
The story of three interwoven, but separate lives.

Ben, Lucy and Clare are of different generations, but their lives have a connection in the most surprising way and this develops gradually as the story progresses.

Ben is the sole survivor of a terrible crime in which his mother and many others are brutally murdered. He is only six years old and the trauma of the event forces him to escape into another world and blot out the event which changed his life. Lucy also finds herself at a personal cross
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Sue
Mar 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
If only this had just been Clare’s story, and Leo’s story, and their relationship I’d have been so happy. I’d have been delighted if there had been much, much more of Clare’s story and none of Lucy’s or Ben’s, and certainly none of the hospital procedure and hypnotherapy used to link them to the main action.

This author is a great storyteller but for me the structure of this novel felt contrived and distracted from her main achievements, Clare and Leo - strong, credible characters I came to care
...more
Nicki
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I very much enjoyed The Possible Wprld. Although dealing with the strange idea of reincarnation,, I found the book believable, contemporary and challenging (in a good way.) It is incredibly well written and I felt immersed In the worlds of the four main characters, one of whom was a 6 year old boy. I find novels often struggle to provide a realistic ‘voice of the child’ but in this case both children were written in an incredibly touching and sympathetic way. I was keen to find out what happened ...more
Vix
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, netgalley
This is a book for romantic believers in a kind of love which can transcend generations. I could have read about these characters forever; I really didn’t want their stories to end!
Laura
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018
This is a glorious book. I was fascinated by the three main characters Ben, Clare & Lucy and was invested in their stories from the very start. For me Clare’s story was my favourite and I found myself racing through this book trying to work out how her story would join up with Ben and Lucy's. If you’re looking for a gripping book full of mystery, well-written characters and with a heartwarming feel to it then this is the one for you.
*I received a copy of this book from the publishers in exc
...more
Nic
Apr 16, 2018 rated it liked it
⭐⭐⭐ 3 enjoyable stars.

This was an great break from the norm for me, I different genre, a different style of book.

Overall I enjoyed the book, it was interesting spanning different time periods and told from different points of view.

However the 3 stars reflects for me the disjointed nature of the chapters told from different perspectives; they lacked a sense of flow.

Equally the Lucy chapters were far too descriptive regarding medical procedures and the treatment of patients. I felt a light disap
...more
Heather
Apr 03, 2018 rated it liked it
I was so excited to read The Possible World by Liese O'Halloran Schwarz. The book sounded like a book I would devour. But I just couldn't get into it. This book is told from three points of view, Lucy, Claire, and Leo/ Ben. I found this to be very confusing. There was no flow at all. I have read many books written in this manner and it worked for them, but not here. As a medical professional myself, the medical jargon was way too much. The author does a great job with her prose and should have l ...more
aris ☆
This is a really, really good story that’s beautifully written. The transitions between the POVs are interesting, and I was never bored or indifferent during a different person's point of view. All the characters are written so so well, and they're so different? Clare and Lucy and Ben - it's amazing how well the author has managed to link all the stories together. I loved this book because of how bittersweet it was; and I wanted to keep reading it. I didn't want it to end. (But it did. Cries.)
Ellie Hudson
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this - ideal for a holiday read.
Girl
Apr 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
I read this book courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher.

A young boy is the sole survivor of a birthday party during which his mother, friends and a few others were murdered. A doctor who is finishing her residency tends to him at hospital. An elderly lady living at a care facility hides secrets about her past.

Before you start reading the book, I have to warn you: it is not a realist novel. We have some magical realist / paranormal threads here, namely, reincarnation is taken to exist and people
...more
Laurie
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is definitely an exceptional novel.
It is based on three main characters, a young boy who has witnessed a horrible tragedy and is the sole survivor, an elderly woman named Clara, who is 100. She is living in a nursing home with amazing memories, and an emergency room resident, Lucy, who is attempting to put the plot together, both in her own life and that of the young boy whose name is Ben, but wants to be Leo, and why?
Reincarnation? I would believe it. How is it that Clara is looking for L
...more
Lynn
Feb 28, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Meg
Apr 10, 2018 added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Initial thoughts:
I really loved the three stories tied together, and (unusually) I was equally invested in all of them. I really enjoyed the detailed descriptions of the ER room although I understand why others didn't - they didn't add much to the story but from a personal interest point of view I loved these sections.

Although the opening scene was gripping and intriguing, I thought it had little to do with the rest of the book. I would quite enjoy reading a completely different story (thriller-
...more
Tawnya Nelson
Feb 24, 2018 rated it liked it
I think the premise of this book is a good one; however, the storylines felt rushed and incomplete. For example, the relationship between Lucy and Joe felt forced. Was it necessary? Leo/Ben's storyline could have been improved by explaining what was going on sooner. The only consistent story I felt made sense was Claire's. There was just too much missing.
Tim
May 29, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
I have a feeling that The Possible World is the kind of book that you either immensely enjoy or find deeply unsatisfying. Sadly, no matter how hard I tried, I found myself in the latter camp throughout reading this novel. This is not to say that author Liese O’Halloran Schwartz is devoid of talent – she writes beautifully and has an engaging style. However, the thin plot ultimately undermined the experience.

The Possible World details the lives of three seemingly unrelated characters. There’s Be
...more
Liz
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
via my blog http://cavebookreviews.blogspot.com/

Liese O'Halloran Schwarz describes the interior life, the struggles of loss, pain, and recovery of characters of different ages in different time spaces. The drama of the plot comes immediately when there is a mass murder at a child's birthday party. Ben is the only survivor, his mother was one of the adults killed. Ben meets an E.R. doctor, Lucy, who was acquainted with his mother, a resident in another department. Ben is severely traumatized and
...more
L Corky
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Thank you to #NetGalley and Scribner for a E-ARC of this book.

The Possible World is told by three different points of view. Clare is a resident in a nursing home, she has a secret past that she has never told anyone. Leo is a young teen that was given to a orphanage by his mother. Leo meets Clare and she raises him. She is about to turn 100 years old.

Ben is a young boy and the only survivor of a mass murder at a birthday party. He is traumatized and doesn't remember the event. Under hypnosis he
...more
Laurie's Lit Picks
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is good, and I mean really good. Reminiscent of authors Jodi Picoult and Kate Morton, Schwarz is able to pull together different time periods, characters, and plot lines, weave them into a panoramic view, and then pull it all together in the end. First the characters: Lucy, an ER doc, struggling with her marriage, the crazy hours, and the emotional turmoil of incoming patients; Clare, an elderly patient in assisted living, looking back at her Depression-era childhood and the direction ...more
Cynthia
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars rounded up because there’s a lot of sweetness in these characters and in the writing itself. Like other reviewers, I was unimpressed with the doctor Lucy story, but I loved Clare and found Leo/Ben endearing. I felt the author was trying to stuff an extra half a story into a very nice novel. Such a mixed reading experience!
Melissa
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really lovely storytelling
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Liese O'Halloran Schwarz grew up in Washington, DC after an early childhood overseas. She went to Harvard and then attended medical school at University of Virginia. While in medical school, she won the Henfield/Transatlantic Review Prize and also published her first novel, Near Canaan.

She specialized in emergency medicine and like most doctors, she can thoroughly ruin dinner parties with tales of
...more
More about Liese O'Halloran Schwarz

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