While reading My Name is Lucy Barton it did occur to me that all these little life stories had a story of their own. The author must have felt the same, as she has now followed up with a new book called Anything is Possible. A compilation of short stories about the Pretty Nicely Girls, Tommy the janitor and Lucy’s sister Vicky - where their love/hate relationship had lingered for years, to name a few. These small town mid-western lives, filled with poverty, abuse, love, fear and an underlying hope is described in the delicate manner only Elizabeth Strout can create. She digs deep into the hearts and minds of these characters bringing a genuineness that is almost painful. If you have not read My Name is Lucy Barton, I would definitely start there and then enjoy this beautiful new novel. I was lucky to have an early read thanks to netgalley but it will be available April 25th.
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Mothering Sunday is an English holiday, similar to America’s Mother’s Day. It is 1924 and Jane Fairchild is given the day off from her job as a maid. As she is an orphan, there is no mother to visit and Jane makes a secretive yet leisurely visit to the son of a neighbor. Paul Sheringham is of high society wealth and status and about to be married. Jane and Paul have been carrying on their secret affair for years – but today is the last time they will be together. Decades later, Jane Fairchild reflects back on the chapters of her life, of her loves and passion for reading and later writing. Highly recommend this beautifully told, romantic story of one woman’s surprising journey. It is written simply and poetically and I could not put it down.
Isabelle Poole is barely 18, pregnant, poor and alone in this small town in Tennessee. Her mother passed away, her father is a drunk and her impregnator has killed himself. The only thing she knows she is good at is her job cooking the best southern BBQ in town, maybe the best in the world. Without much hope for the future, Izzy knows she can also be a good mother if given the chance. That opportunity arrives when Dr. Preston Grind asks Izzy to be part of a special project called The Infinite Family. Funded by an eccentric businesswoman 10 families will live, work, play and parent together in a somewhat isolated village that will be constructed to meet all their needs. Over ten years Dr. Grind and his team will be able to study and research children as they grow up with love and guidance from a community instead of just their own parents. This is an unexpected golden opportunity for Izzy and she accepts without hesitation. So begins her journey into a new world where fairness, opportunity and support abounds; things Izzy has never experienced before. She discovers love, motherhood, friendship and learns she is far more intelligent and talented than she has ever given herself credit for. Not as farfetched and futuristic as one may believe - call it cult, commune or even kibbutz – it is very hard to live, work and parent as a group. Individuality runs deep and whether defined as nature or nurture it includes constant compromise, jealousy and envy as part of the package. This is one of the most unique stories I have read in a very long time. An alternative way of life that sometimes makes a lot of sense and oftentimes seems completely unnatural, simply mesmerizing. Well written with a wonderful set of characters, I highly recommend this fabulous new read.