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Publisher's Summary

A richly compelling and deeply moving novel that traces 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 secrets.

Clare, one of the oldest women in Rhode Island, believes that all the painful secrets of her long life have been laid to rest, until an unexpected encounter with a piece of her past forces her to realize the time has come to tell her story. Ben, a shy, precocious six-year-old being gently raised by a devoted mom, witnesses a terrible crime and is taken to the hospital, bewildered and alone. 

Lucy, an overworked resident physician in Providence, meets Ben when he's brought into the ER. But between all-night shifts and trying to pick up the pieces of her failing marriage, she doesn't know how to help. 

In time, Ben begins to uncover pieces before, just half-memories at first, then it all comes rushing back: Mama, Clyde, Brother Timothy, a stone cottage, and the woman who loved and cared for him. His psychiatrist believes these are inventions triggered by the horror of what the little boy saw, but Ben is determined to find the one person who can rescue him. 

Bit by bit, Ben, Clare, and Lucy discover what they all have in common. 

An expertly stitched story that spans nearly a century - from the 1920s through the Vietnam War era and into the present, The Possible World is a gorgeous novel about the special relationships between mothers and sons, the complicated ways our pasts shape our identities, the loneliness born out of loss, and how the healing act of retelling can create timeless connection.

©2018 Liese O'Halloran Schwarz (P)2018 Recorded Books

What listeners say about The Possible World

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Profile Image for Marcy Day
  • Marcy Day
  • 29-06-2018

A beautifully woven story

Loved it. I would definitely recommend it.

This story is magical. I could not stop listening - even while shopping-although I did start crying in the middle of the grocery store.

The narrative meanders gracefully through multiple lives, giving glimpses of love and loss, but ultimately it is a story of redemption.

I will definitely listen to this again. Loved the narrator who read the role of Claire.

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  • Shadi S Eskaf
  • 14-08-2018

Engrossing

This isn’t the kind of book I usually read (or listen to), but I thoroughly enjoyed it! Liese has a wonderful way of building characters that are relatable, from their backstories to their mannerisms. In the audiobook version, these traits are supported by the performance of each reader, adding a voice and tone that seem fit the characters well. I especially enjoyed Liese’s insights into the medical field (having been in that field herself), and ability to turn paint a picture of life in a senior home. Very glad for the recommendation from my friend to read this book.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Bilyana Petrova
  • Bilyana Petrova
  • 16-07-2018

Powerful

Beautifully written and deeply moving. A touching story about self-discovery, growing up, loss of innocence, the clash of romantic dreams and cold reality, acceptance, and redemption. Gorgeous writing that is simultaneously lyrical and precise. The storytelling flows effortlessly. The characters are exceptionally well developed: though flawed, they win your heart. You grow to understand and love them. The novel subtly weaves a delicate social critique into the narrative. Topics such as a woman’s place in society and the balance between family and professional realization are addressed with remarkable insight. Overall, a wonderful reading experience. I loved it!

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  • Anna Murray
  • 04-07-2018

Riveting from beginning to end

From the surprise in the very first chapter through the end, I tried to listen at every available opportunity! The characters and the world and the three narrators are transportive.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Rick Newsome
  • 17-06-2021

Fresh, fascinating, and finely crafted

Lately I have been disappointed with some of the books I have read or tried to read. The Possible World is not one of those. I have LOVED the book and could not put it down. Character development is a real strength; Clare, Lucy, and Ben will be forever memorable. The plot is fascinating, and the hospital background provides a fresh literary setting for human drama, as well as an intriguing medical mystery.

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  • LMR
  • 22-05-2021

l loved this book

A beautiful story that was beautifully written. Characters were memorable! Not a dull moment. I thought the performances for this audible book were terrific!

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Profile Image for RueRue
  • RueRue
  • 29-10-2018

Three connected narratives

The beginning of this book did not keep my interest, and I put it aside to listen to something else. I decided to give it another try, and gradually found myself pulled into the three interconnected stories. Even if you don't believe in past lives/reincarnation, this is very compelling.

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