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Anything is Possible

(Amgash #2)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  34,982 ratings  ·  4,655 reviews
Short story collection Anything Is Possible explores the whole range of human emotion through the intimate dramas of people struggling to understand themselves and others.

Here are two sisters: one trades self-respect for a wealthy husband while the other finds in the pages of a book a kindred spirit who changes her life. The janitor at the local school has his faith tested
Kindle Edition, 280 pages
Published May 4th 2017 by Viking (first published April 27th 2017)
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Lisa C. Ragan "of my friends" is a prepositional phrase between the subject "none" and verb "has reviewed." Verbs do not agree with objects of prepositions. None is…more"of my friends" is a prepositional phrase between the subject "none" and verb "has reviewed." Verbs do not agree with objects of prepositions. None is considered a singular subject, thus, "none has..." If friends were the subject, it would be correct to say, "My friends have reviewed it."

However, it is correct to say, "None of my friends has reviewed it yet." (less)
Susan Elizabeth Strout is an amazing short story writer whose stories stand on their own, chapter by chapter. However, the stories are connected somehow,…moreElizabeth Strout is an amazing short story writer whose stories stand on their own, chapter by chapter. However, the stories are connected somehow, usually through one character. In this case, the stories are connected by Lucy Barton. In Olive Kitteredge, they were connected by Olive. It's not essential that you read Lucy Barton first, but I think you'd get more out of Anything is Possible if you did. I'd like to go back now and read both of them to clarify all the connections in my mind. Again, that would not be essential, but these characters are very compelling!(less)
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3.76  · 
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 ·  34,982 ratings  ·  4,655 reviews

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Elyse Walters
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Elizabeth Strout begins with Tommy Guptill who once owned a dairy farm in Amgash,
Illinois. The house had burned down. His family had to move to a more run-down town. Their family went from having their home be a place that class trips came to-- --to having to see their father push a broom as a janitor at their school.
The kids were now grown, his wife 82 years old.....and as Tommy said...
"Well, they had all lived through it".

This is a wondrous book, it is my first read by Elizabeth Strout and I was just so impressed. It is a beautifully written collection of 9 short stories set in Amgash, Illinois. We encounter Lucy Barton through the perspectives of others, where she comes across as a wonderful woman, she has survived difficult circumstances, to become a renowned writer of a well received memoir. I get to finally meet her in Sister, where she finally returns to Amgash only to find it is more than she can bear. Stro ...more
Diane S ☔
Feb 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Linked stories from Lucy Barton's home town and the people that made up the town. First story features Charlie, former maintenance man at the school the Barton children attended, an elderly man who remembers Lucy and tried to be kind to her, though many didn't. The Barton's too poor and in fact Lucy's brother Pete still lives alone, in the dilapidated house of his youth. Charlie makes a point to visit this lonesome and strange man though he has good reason to write the whole family off as you wi ...more
Larry H
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm between 4 and 4.5 stars here.

I don't know about you, but people watching utterly fascinates me. It's really amusing to watch the dynamics of families and groups of friends, but what's even more fun is making up stories about those we see, developing a narrative about their relationships, challenges, and victories. (It would be great to find out how far from the truth these stories are, wouldn't it?)

Reading Elizabeth Strout's new collection of linked stories, Anything is Possible , feels lik
Angela M
Elizabeth Strout is one of our best contemporary authors, so I was thrilled to get an advanced copy of this book. I was especially excited to read it because this book is a continuation of My Name Is Lucy Barton, which was moving in so many ways. I was definitely not disappointed. This is a collection of connected stories and probably could be read as a stand alone, but I have to admit that my enjoyment and appreciation of it was enhanced by having met Lucy previously.

Some of the unspoken things
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, 2017, netgalley

Once again, Elizabeth Strout has exquisitely examined and shared the life of a small group of people in a small town in this lovely compilation of intermingled stories that form this novel. If you’ve already read My Name is Lucy Barton, you’ll be familiar with many of them, and with Lucy.

In “Anything is Possible”, the focus is again on the relationships, in this case most are relatives of one degree or another of Lucy. Siblings. Cousins. Parents. Strained relationships in o
Art refreshingly revealing how anything's possible when one person honestly, authentically connects with another.
"Lucy, Lucy, Lucy B, where did you go to, how did you flee?"

Following the critical success of Olive Kitteridge and My Name Is Lucy Barton, Elizabeth Strout strops her razor-sharp discernment of human psyche, its nuances, uncertainties and frailty, and in conflict with itself in confronting moral depravity. Anything is Possible is a collection of nine interrelated stories set around Lu
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Once again, here is another book I read for a Goodreads challenge on audio. And it's another one I'm going to buy and add to my collection. BUT! I need to buy the first book (Lucy Barton) first. I had no idea this was the second book in that story line.

I loved everything about this book as well and the narrator was awesome!

I absolutely loved it!

Happy Reading!

Mel ♥
Pouting Always
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read My Name is Lucy Barton but after finishing this I totally want to, also maybe if I would have read it before hand I'd have given this five stars. I really enjoyed the writing style, I actually felt the difference between chapters when the point of view shifted to that of another character which is amazing in my opinion because everyone has a certain writing style and because of that a lot of the characters end up being written similar enough that you don't really feel the shift as ...more
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Strout has quickly become for me a go-to-author. She creates memorable and complex characters for the simplest of stories.
Everything is Possible is an attestation to this. She links the character from my Name is Lucy Barton and weaves her into vignettes of the townspeople she grew up with. Those who knew of her as she was able to flee the stifling small town and successfully move on from her own sadness and despair. Themes of forgiveness, redemption and love of family and friends, because quite
Firecrackers in my soul!!!

Socks knocked off AGAIN! My feet are cold, but my soul is on fire. This collection of stories goes directly to my all-time-favorites shelf. Brilliant, just brilliant. I can barely sit still just thinking about it.

I wasn’t super hot to try this collection, because even though I gave My Name Is Lucy Barton 4 stars, I wasn’t all a-gush. I had loved its subtle tension and its introspection, but I had had sort of a hefty Complaint Board. My biggest gripes were that Lucy and
Brenda - Traveling Sister
4.5 Stars

Anything is Possible is the sequel to My Name is Lucy Barton and is read as short stories. In these unforgettable wise, simple and gracefully told short stories we learn more of the siblings and neighbours known to us from My Name is Lucy Barton as they share gossip, judgement and their sadness and disappointments. I found My Name is Lucy Barton to be more of quieter story while Anything is Possible felt a bit louder with more things said as we learn the characters stories of disappoint
Jaline - (on partial hiatus)
This book is a series of related short stories, linked to each other, but also linked through connections to Lucy Barton. Raised in extreme poverty, Lucy Barton manages to escape the confinement of her class through education, hard work, and most of all by leaving the environment of her origins. Whether the connection is direct or peripheral, the people in this book know Lucy Barton, or know of her, or know people who know people who knew Lucy Barton.

Through sadness, contentment, pain, joy, sorr
Apr 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved My Name is Lucy Barton!
Anything is Possible, focuses on different characters, in each chapter, from Lucy's hometown of Amgash, Illinois. There is quite a lot of sadness and pain in these stories, but these characters and their situations were so well written, that I really felt like I knew them. I had a few favorites, and I am glad that Lucy made an appearance, and, the way the book ended, wow, what a way to go out!

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for an ARC!
Mar 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

There is something so wonderfully absorbing and enthralling about Stout's books. I am absolutely certain that Stout could write a book about watching pain peel off a wall and I would read it. I love her writing. I read books and think that they are good and then I read Stout and think "Yes! Yes! Yes!" I can't quite put my finger on exactly what it is that draws me to her writing. She has a gift. She is a brilliant Author who can take people and their lives and add a certain type of bril
4.5 Stars

Oh. Boy. Elizabeth Strout does it again in this sequel to MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON. She takes a group of unexceptional folk and interweaves an exceptional group of short stories as we revisit the small impoverished town of Amgash, Illinois. We even get to have a sit-down with Lucy herself.....albeit a somewhat difficult one.

Bad times and sad times are in abundance here though with dysfunctional families and their dark personal secrets, but a couple characters actually brought a smile to

May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read "My Name Is Lucy Barton" last year, which was my introduction to Elizabeth Strout's writing style. All I remember about that book were the feelings it provoked in me--unresolved feelings that were all too familiar with my own mother. I became so caught up in the strained relationship between Lucy and her mother and the hurt that had been festering all those years that I don't remember any of the people from Lucy's hometown who were mentioned. I only remember the small talk, taking the pla ...more
I feel so compelled to have your attention right now. Have your attention, but not have it for me, or my words or my ego. . . but for you and your soul and for this book of Ms. Strout's.

Wow. Damn it. It's been a long time since a book has caused me to feel this agitated, this moved, this conflicted.

I had to force myself to walk outside, at a brisk pace, circling my yard several times, before I could commit to sitting down and writing this. Even so, I still feel edgy, irritated, worried that I wi
Iris P
Anything Is Possible

★★★★★ 5 Convincing Stars!

“Sarah Payne, the day she told us to go to the page without judgment, reminded us that we never knew, and never would know, what it would be like to understand another person fully."

― Elizabeth Strout, My Name is Lucy Barton


I received a free advance e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, thank you!

In My Name Is Lucy Barton, the critically acclaimed 2016 no
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“People could surprise you.Not just their kindness,but also their sudden ability to express things the right way”

I recently had my first experience of Elizabeth Strout’s beautiful writing with
‘My Name is Lucy Barton’

I’ve been holding off writing a review for ‘Anything is Possible ‘as her character analysis is so adept it’s incredibly difficult to put into words how moving and realistic these characters felt.

To read Strout is to experience beauty in sadness.

In ‘My Name is Lucy Barton’ we meet Lu
Apr 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I loved Elizabeth Strout's My Name Is Lucy Barton. It was a short tight novel about an author reflecting on her harsh childhood and adult life while lying in a hospital bed with her mother at her side. There was something about Lucy that really touched me. My expectations were therefore high for Everything Is Possible. It's a collection of connected stories that are also linked to My Name Is Lucy Barton -- stories about people from Lucy's childhood town, bringing a different perspective to Lucy' ...more
Just stellar, as always. Elizabeth Strout, how I love thee!

This amazing collection of 9 short stories revolves around the community of Amgash, Illinois, the hometown of Lucy Barton, the leading lady of Strout's previous novel ("My Name is Lucy Barton"). You don't necessarily need to read "Lucy Barton" first to tackle and enjoy this collection, but I highly recommend it. Lucy's backstory does illuminate several of these narratives.

Strout's characters are all loosely connected in some way across t
A masterful collection of nine connected stories. They all feature people with origins from a fictional rural northern Illinois community, Amgash, and triangulate with Lucy Barton, who moved away and became a successful writer. They were all affected one way or another by one in their midst who survived such abject poverty that she and her two cousins resorted to eating out of dumpsters. Now seventeen years later, her friends, family, and former enemies have all moved on in their lives, some cha ...more
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-lit, read-2018
This was my 147th and last book of 2018, and my first review of 2019. This collection of stories is a companion piece to the Booker longlisted My Name is Lucy Barton, and I came very close to awarding it 5 stars.

This collection is largely set in the rural backwater of Amgash, Illinois, the small town from which Lucy escaped her impoverished childhood to become a writer in New York. Each of the stories is self-contained, but there are links both to the earlier book and to other stories in this on
I expect I'll be the odd one out on this book. While I see glowing accolates and many 4.5 and 5 star reviews, I just had a hard time connecting with it. I cannot put my finger on the exact reason. Strout's My Name Is Lucy Barton was extraordinary, and this book is written in a similar vein. Strout takes us to Lucy's hometown where we meet people from her past as well as her siblings. Every person is so completely *human* -- flawed, imperfect, and in this book, profoundly sad (perhaps that was my ...more
Apr 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I enjoyed Olive Kitteridge but never got around to reading My Name is Lucy Barton. This book, written simultaneously with Lucy Barton, explores the folks still living in Lucy’s hometown. Like Olive Kitteridge, it is a series of short stories all interwoven around folks that know each other. Strout totally gets that small town mentality, how everyone knows each other and not just each other but their entire families. And how what someone was like growing up or what their parents did colors how th ...more
Disclaimer. Elizabeth Strout is one of my favourite writers and I loved My Name Is Lucy Barton, so I was predisposed to enjoy this. And I did. She catches people when they are most vulnerable.

Lucy, her family and other townsfolk she and her mother reminisced about in the previous book feature in separate stories and occasionally appear in each other’s. Whether you connect all the dots or not doesn't really matter, but of course when you do make the connections, it multiplies the enjoyment. Ah,
Elizabeth Strout has written a remarkable book that communicates 9 different, but intertwined stories. There are various fascinating threads running between each story and the dialogue is superbly written to create a telling glimpse into the characters’ lives. Anything is Possible presents a wonderful range and balance between character variety, believability and intrigue.

It is the normal everyday tales we hear from husbands and wives, mothers and daughters, and between siblings, neighb
Diane Barnes
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I don't think it's possible for me to write a review of this book, it was much too powerful and real, and my heart hurts just thinking of the courage it takes for all of us to get through our daily lives while trying to salvage some small thread of decency and happiness out of this messy world. I loved every character in every one of these inter-connected stories. My jaw dropped more than once at the realization that we're all in this together really, more than we know.

"She saw Shelly Small as a
May 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Connected short stories are a particular favourite of mine - so I only have myself to blame for not having started reading Elizabeth Strout's books earlier. And after this absolutely brilliant book I feel a bit stupid. Because I totally, 100 % adored this - and I think I would have liked it even more, had I read her other books first. There are connections there that I would have enjoyed more and scenes that I am sure would have been even more poignant. This is the only reason why I rated the bo ...more
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Elizabeth Strout is the author of several novels, including: Abide with Me, a national bestseller and BookSense pick, and Amy and Isabelle, which won the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize, and was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize in England. In 2009 she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her book Olive Kitteri ...more

Other books in the series

Amgash (2 books)
  • My Name Is Lucy Barton
“This was the skin that protected you from the world—this loving of another person you shared your life with.” 32 likes
“the sense of apology did not go away; it was a tiring thing to carry. —” 11 likes
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