cover image The Possible World

The Possible World

Liese O’Halloran Schwarz. Scribner, $27 (368p) ISBN 978-1-5011-6614-3

Schwarz (Near Canaan), a specialist in emergency medicine, blends a clear-eyed acceptance of life’s pain and cruelties with a hopeful message about the enduring power of love in this rich and memorable novel. In Providence, R.I., ER physician Lucy is adrift following the dissolution of her marriage. She forges a surprising but firm bond with six-year-old Ben, the only survivor of a party where everyone else was murdered, who’s unable to recall the crime. Across town, Clare, a nursing home resident, decides to observe her 100th birthday by recording the closely guarded details of her life. As she and Ben reveal their stories, it becomes clear they have met in Ben’s past life, and that Lucy may be the key to reuniting them at last. Schwarz’s prose is assured and lyrical, infusing each narrative with sensory and emotional detail. However, that same detail also dilutes the main story line, making the moment when these narratives finally intersect feel somewhat rushed. Nevertheless, readers who enjoy the works of Susanna Kearsley and M.J. Rose will find much to enjoy.[em] (June) [/em]