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, he somehow, inexplicably remembers somebody else’s horrific past. Lucy is the ER doctor who first speaks to Ben. She’s drawn to Ben, wanting to help him remember what happened to his mother and they form a close bond. Meanwhile, there’s Clare, an elderly woman telling the story of her past.
It was intriguing these three stories were woven together. My only tiny complaint would be that the crime at the beginning of the book seems to somehow disappear and isn’t really addressed much in the rest of the book. It starts as a crime/thriller then deviates into something magical, centering on re-incarnation, and that isn’t clear at all from the description, so I was a little baffled when it was first introduced. I don’t mind suspending my belief for books, but even at the end I felt it didn’t really address the crime enough and the final scene with Clare and Ben was brushed over so fast as to be almost abrupt.
That being said, this is a beautifully told story that I found absorbing and intriguing. Not in a ‘read-in-one-sitting’ sort of way, but in a ‘draw-it-out-and-savor-it’ sort of way. Despite the genre confusion, I’d still rate it a 5* simply because of how enjoyable it was to read and the exquisite characterisation and prose.
Thank you to Netgalley for letting me read The Possible World by Liese O’Halloran Schwartz in exchange for my honest review.