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The Possible World

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4.2  ·  Rating details ·  199 Ratings  ·  137 Reviews
An astonishing, deeply moving novel about the converging lives of a young boy who witnesses a brutal murder, the doctor who tends to him, and an elderly woman guarding her long buried past.

It seems like just another night shift for Lucy, an overworked ER physician in Providence, Rhode Island, until six-year-old Ben is brought in as the sole survivor from a horrifying crime
...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published June 26th 2018 by Scribner
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Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader & Traveling Sister
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader & Traveling Sister by: Angela M
The Possible World is everything! 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

This is exactly the kind of book in which I get completely absorbed. I had to remind my family that I was reading because The Possible World had me wrapped. It was engrossing, emotional, and thoughtful, and everything I want a book to be.

The Possible World has three main characters who narrate, and just wait until you have the opportunity to meet them. My love for each overflows.

The book opens with six-year-old Ben attending a friend’s birthday party.
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Angela M
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it

This book was everything that it says in the description on Goodreads and Edelweiss and more. I was glad for that. I found a lovely story of connections among three characters two of whom are in need of finding a way forward out of loss and grief and a third facing the past she needs to come to terms with as she reaches her 100th birthday. Having said that, I did take issue that an important element of the story was omitted from the description. I thought that it should have been honestly repres
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Marialyce
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
5 most gracious lovely stars
You can find my reviews at: http://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpres...

There is beauty in love, in family, in the things one does with others, with the lives we have been given. There is wonderment at the ways of living, its joys and sorrows, as well as the belief that all is possible.

We are introduced to three wonderful characters in this beautifully written novel. There is Lucy, a doctor working the emergency room, overworked, whose marriage is breaking up because of h
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Lou
Jun 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I rarely request titles from the "General/Adult Fiction" category on NetGalley but when I do I usually find I have an enoyable time exploring a different genre to my usuals. While there were some plus points to the book there were also quite significant shortfalls.

Okay, Let's begin with the good points. The writing is pretty perfect and Schwarz injects the story with some unique and special ideas adding to its originality. The characters were authentic and realistic which was absolutely necessar
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Fictionophile
Heart-breaking, heart-warming, and compelling literary fiction. This book is a must read!
Amazing!
The characters in this novel were unforgettable and I miss them already.

First we meet Ben. He is a trepidatious boy who is small for his age. While attending a birthday party for one of his friends, Ben's world will come crashing down as he experiences a horrific trauma.

"We're all of us obsessed with our own story. Especially those of us near the end of it."

Next we meet Clare. A resident of a nursing
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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
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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
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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!
Alecia
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am rounding up a 3.5 review to 4 stars because of the lovely writing and wonderful characterizations. The problem I had was in the (to me) slightly creaking structure of this book. Told from many points of view, it got a bit confusing to me when it toggled between Ben and Leo, and it took awhile to adjust to time and place differences. The beginning scene is both horrific and told very well. I also thought that the medical scenes with Lucy, the ER Dr., seemed realistic.

The chapters on Lucy, Be
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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
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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
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
Charlotte Burt
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I finished this late last night, then felt bereft. Tempted to go back to the beginning and read it again I loved it that much.
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!
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
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
Jennifer
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I absolutely LOVED this book!!!! The cover of the book caught my eye and the story ended being amazing. It was beautifully written. This is one of those books that I find myself randomly thinking about, especially while driving home from work. The characters and their story just stuck with me. I loved everything about it- the story, characters and writing style. The characters just all came together, they ended up being connected even though Ben, Lucy and Clare didn't initially know each other. ...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
Christina McDonald
A unique story about the lives we live and how they inhabit our memories, The Possible World is compelling and absorbing with exquisite prose and beautiful characterization. It isn’t my usual genre, but it was so absorbing, the characters so compelling, the prose so exquisite, I couldn’t put it down.

The story opens with a bang with Ben (Leo), who is the only survivor of a vicious crime that claims his mother’s life. Ben is left all alone, unable to remember what happened to his mother. Instead,
...more
Susu
Jul 12, 2018 added it
Shelves: 2018
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Judy Collins
Review to follow.
Karen Mace
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the story of Ben, Lucy and Clare. Three amazing characters all living very different lives until a shocking incident connects them all and brings their worlds much closer together. It was an absolutely stunning book to read and am very grateful to The Pigeonhole app - and the author! - for allowing me to welcome these characters in to my life!

Ben is just 6 years old and is witness to a most brutal tragedy that takes away his mother. How he deals with that is to shut down and becomes 'Leo
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Kathleen Gray
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A lovely book in which Lucy, a physician, and Ben, a young boy, help to tell Clare's story. I'll admit to being. tad confused for a bit as to where this was going but I was so taken by the characters and the map of the tale became clear. Lucy care for Ben when he is brought into the emergency room after his mother and friends are murdered. He insists, however, that his name is Leo and he's seeking Clare. At the same time, you meet Clare, a woman who leaves her husband and loses her son in a horr ...more
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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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
Kath
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Usually when I read a book like this, with a bit of a curve ball at its centre, I feel a little cheated but this book was so brilliant that I easily forgave the author for "going down that road"
Ben is six years old and is at a party when someone breaks in and kills the rest of the people there. He is saved as he was in the loo at the time. He is brought into the trauma unit of the local hospital where he is assessed by Lucy, an overworked doctor and admitted to a ward for psych evaluation. He ap
...more
miss.mesmerized mesmerized
Being invited to a birthday party isn‘t something that comes easy for Ben. Too many things can happen, all is so unpredictable with other boys, but his mother can convince him to go nevertheless. And then, the most unexpected happens: a murderer comes to the party and kills the two mothers in the house as well as all of the kids, except for Ben. In hospital, Lucy can only determine that he hasn’t been hurt physically, but there seems to be a kind of trauma since Ben wants to be called Leo and re ...more
Sarah Connor
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a multi-strand book, that has an impossible element to it, but it's made absolutely believable by the powerful writing, and by the intense grounding in detailed reality in all the other areas of the book.

At the start, it was really hard to see how the disparate stories would come together, but Liese wove things together skilfully. There were no emotional jars - the characters all developed, but stayed true to themselves, and the ending was perfect. And I cried. At least twice.

I would h
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Gail Wylde
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pigeonhole
This was an engrossing, emotional read which I LOVED! It follows the stories of Ben/Leo, Lucy and Clare, all very strong characters who will get under your skin and into your head/heart, who really seem to be unconnected. I'm really finding it hard to review this without giving anything away! Just suffice to say you will cry, you will smile but you really will never forget this story. I will be recommending this to all and this will certainly be one of my favourite books of this year. I cannot w ...more
Christina McDonald
A unique story about the lives we live and how they inhabit our memories, The Possible World is compelling and absorbing with exquisite prose and beautiful characterization. It isn’t my usual genre, but it was so absorbing, the characters so compelling, the prose so exquisite, I couldn’t put it down.

The story opens with a bang with Ben (Leo), who is the only survivor of a vicious crime that claims his mother’s life. Ben is left all alone, unable to remember what happened to his mother. Instead,
...more
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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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