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Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

In this collection of short stories centered in and near the fictional town of Amgash, Illinois, last visited in My Name Is Lucy Barton (2016), Strout once again shows her talent for adroitly uncovering what makes ordinary people tick. Here, for the most part, it’s sex. Nearly every story has sex at its core-not erotic or salacious sex, but the sex that beats in our hearts, the mundane stuff that brought every last one of us into being. It’s almost misleading to classify these as short stories; while they read fine as stand-alones, they work best as chapters that make up a novel of Amgash. Each story feeds off a previous one, whether via shared characters or mention of a prior incident. For example, Lucy’s former classmate Patty not only gets her own story, she’s also featured prominently in several stories and is mentioned in passing in others. Most of the stories feature Lucy herself – on the periphery, at least -whether it’s a character reading Lucy’s latest book or seeing her on a TV spot or stopping on a memory of the dirt-poor Barton clan. Clearly, this is a must-read for fans of Lucy Barton, but it’s also an excellent introduction to Strout’s marvelously smart character studies. – Booklist Reviews.

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