"In hauntingly beautiful prose, Schwarz weaves a complicated story that spans nearly a century, from the Great Depression until the present day. Brimming with emotionally difficult moments and an enviable understanding of human nature, the novel will seize readers from the first scene and hold tight until its satisfying conclusion. A bittersweet story full of imagination and nostalgia, loss and redemption."
“Every now and then I come across a book I wish I’d written. The Possible World is one of those. Liese O’Halloran Schwarz’s book is a gorgeously wrought exploration of who gets to tell the story of our lives, and who gets to inhabit that story with us.” —Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of Small Great Things
"Powerfully intertwines the stories of three apparent strangers…Schwarz blends beautifully crafted prose with three highly compelling tales into one overarching saga of loss and memory."
"Schwarz ... 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 ... Schwarz's prose is assured and lyrical, infusing each narrative with sensory and emotional detail."
Good Housekeeping UK
"This beautiful story of loss and memory... is a joy."
Anne Marie Scanlon, The Independent.ie
"The Possible World... is as grippy as any crime novel yet is ultimately joyful and optimistic."
"The Possible World is a luminous read, full of paradoxes. It’s a riveting page-turner, yet exquisitely written. It’s as smart as a whip but also deeply wise, unflinchingly truthful yet compassionate, epic and yet intimate. How the three stories are woven into a satisfying whole is nothing short of miraculous. It’s rare that a book brings me so much joy that I cry in rapture. But The Possible World did that and more. I found it utterly transformative" —Tor Udall, author of A Thousand Paper Birds
"I have been an admirer of Liese O'Halloran Schwarz for a long time, and so I should not be surprised at the artistry and beauty of her new novel, The Possible World. I think this feeling comes from the fact that the novel is that good: deeply felt, fully imagined, paced so wonderfully that you hardly notice its tightening grip on your imagination. I read it obsessively, neglecting important tasks, exactly the way you indulge in other of lovely guilty vices. I will not soon forget Lucy, Leo (Ben), and Clare, these three unlikely voyagers, delivered to me in precise, sharp, graceful, governed, prose. Bravo!" —Richard Bausch, author of Peace and Living in the Weather of the World
"Set, fittingly, in Providence, The Possible World follows a wide cast blown far off course by their various tragedies. Like her characters, Liese O'Halloran Schwarz is both tough-minded and tenderhearted, showing how fate tears us apart and brings us together. As all Rhode Islanders know, the state motto is Hope." —Stewart O'Nan, author of Songs for the Missing and Emily, Alone
"The Possible World is a triple threat: a novel that offers up flesh-and-blood characters, a white-knuckle plot, and perfect prose. A quadruple threat if you consider the deep emotional journey, the characters' lives intersecting and diverging in the most surprising ways. Liese O'Halloran Schwarz writes like a dream." — Diana Spechler, author of Who by Fire and Skinny
"The Possible World is a quietly stunning novel about solitude, redemption and the mysterious threads of human connection that tie us together in ways beyond what is tangible. An unforgettable book." -- Carolyn Parkhurst, author of The Dogs of Babel and Harmony
"Engrossing... [A] realistic and compelling story of three characters' intertwined lives that completely immerses the reader in their worlds. [T]his novel spans decades and holds many surprises. ... [A] captivating and moving story of grief and loss and the power of love."
"A beautifully entwined story of three extraordinary characters." - Picks of the Month, July 2018
"Liese O'Halloran Schwarz weaves three captivating stories into one entertaining story, showing how our pasts shape our present, and how some human bonds can help us overcome our emotional and psychological pain. The Possible World is a brilliantly written moving story about human struggle with identity and loneliness."
“From the very first page, I was gripped by the enchanting prose that Liese O’Halloran Schwarz has produced. Her language is beautiful. She communicates so much in such seemingly simple sentences. The book feels like an easy read, but underneath is a story that is worth telling, full of human problems and emotions. …If you’re looking for a book to read this summer then I would wholeheartedly recommend The Possible World. It is all the things a good book should be.”
The Possible World is everything! 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟...Engrossing, emotional, and thoughtful, and everything I want a book to be....All of the storytelling in The Possible World is dream-like. Ethereal. Magical. Ben, Lucy, and Clare are connected in some way, and one gift (there are many gifts) of this story is in the enchantment of that discovery. This book both broke my heart and mended it. Thank you the author for this emotionally-resonant book. You left your heart on every page."
‘This book simply was an absolute delight to read. It's a story of epic proportions spanning a hundred years. It tells of impossible things made real. It blurs boundaries and spans generations. The writing flows and before you know it you're hallway through the book. It's such an uplifting story about the kindness of human nature and what it means to be alive. I love every word.’
'Rating ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️... The story is beautiful...It was perfect. I’m just sad that I read it so quickly!!'
‘This is such a beautiful story it made me cry …I recommend this book to each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart.’
‘The Possible World is compelling and absorbing with exquisite prose and beautiful characterization.. I couldn’t put it down.” (5 out of 5 stars)
‘Very rarely do I clamour to keep reading a book and this was the first one in a long time that I couldn’t wait to read at night, at lunch, whenever I could… Thank you to Liese O’Halloran Schwarz for writing this with her heart and soul.’
Mama Mummy Mum Blog
‘Intriguing, thought provoking and almost magical’
Breakaway Reviewers Blog
‘This is a tender and touching story treating the unique situations of each of these lives with great understanding and awareness of the human situation. I would highly recommend this book’
‘If you like a story with lots of twists and turns and emotion, I’d definitely recommend it – an excellent story about humanity and how we connect with each other’
‘This is the best book I have read for ages. The writing style is both effortless and expressive. The characters are rich, full and utterly credible. This is an amazing book...take my advice and read this book, it's wonderful. You won't regret it." 5 stars, Included as one of “10 Best Books Read in 2018 (so far)”
One of the “standouts" among “books read this year so far.”
"There is so much that is wonderful going on in these pages. The wonder, the ability to see into human strengths and weaknesses, and the powerful writing make for a tale that is intriguing and uplifting. The characters enthrall you each with their stories and make this book one that is hard to put down. Truly, this is a book, possessing a wonderfully written prose style that is mesmerizing and enticing. It will captivate you as it did me..."
"Heart-breaking, heart-warming, and compelling literary fiction. This novel is at once compelling historical fiction, a testament to love, a treatise on belief and doubt, a story of loneliness and loss...Powerful, amazing, literary fiction. Highly recommended. This book is a must read! All the STARS!" (Also chosen as one of top 10 reads of 2018 so far)
Review: The Possible World
"For me, the ending was a brilliant resolution... I also really liked the characters. Unlike some books with multiple narrators, I liked all of the protagonists. There weren’t any sections that dragged or that bored me. The Possible World was a weirdly charming book."
Our Dark Horse Pick - "It explores myriad themes, in a gripping way, with differing points of view, and we think everyone should put it on their reading list!"
"5 stars - A beautifully thoughtful story...The ending is poignant and perfect."
MissMesmerized Book Blog
"One of the rare books that you just open and then get completely lost in."
"This is quite simply a wonderfully gorgeous must-read! My whole being poured into ‘The Possible World’, soaked up the words, the feelings, the story....I adored the storyline, the mysterious, spellbinding route that is taken almost feels as though you happen upon it by chance. I read without stopping, completely consumed by the story and it hurt when I turned the final page, when I had to come back into my world."
"A tale of love, loss, friends, family and self-discovery, I really enjoyed “The Possible World” – 5 stars!"
"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... I just adored this book from start to finish! ... A must read!!"
"An epic novel about love, loss, grief and the possibility that our world is far more complex that we can ultimately comprehend. It is at times brutal and uncompromising, but is imbued with such tenderness and compassion that you cannot fail to be moved by it...The Possible World will pull you in from the start and leave you stunned when you finish."
The People's Friend Online
"A mesmerising read that I couldn’t put down and have recommended widely since. It was so outstanding, what could I possibly follow it with?" -- Shirley Blair, My Holiday Reading
"The writing is absolutely beautiful, the stories are brilliantly interwoven and the whole story is moving, heartwarming and uplifting in equal measure. Not my usual genre, but I am so glad I read it. - 5 stars!"
"A beautiful, fascinating 5 star book with great depth of emotion and circumstance...a special book...totally captivating."
"Full of big questions…Schwarz steers her story just the right side of sentimental, finding hope and beauty amid isolation and loneliness."
"As the book goes on and these lives continue to interweave until the breath-taking climax, I was more and more hooked until I just couldn’t put this down...Such a well written tale. [E]motional and brilliant read ...Moving and powerful and I just can’t stop thinking about it."
"A fantastic read from the first chapters through to the end. There were many shocking twists and turns that I did not see coming and many surprises ...Such a compelling, heart warming story that you simply cannot put down. A must read to add to your collection.'
Laurie's Lit Picks Blog
"This book is good, and I mean really good. Reminiscent of authors Jodi Picoult and Kate Morton, Schwarz is able to pull together different time periods, characters, and plot lines, weave them into a panoramic view, and then pull it all together in the end....Schwarz is a very talented storyteller."
“Sweeping through the twentieth century from the Great Depression through the Vietnam war, this novel strikes beyond the narrow lives of a town in America's smallest state. From the opening touching scene of a shy boy at a kid’s party, to the end, the detail of the description makes these characters so very vivid that you care enough for each of them that it brings you to tears when it ends. Shortlisted for Book of the Month."
“Five Local Books for Your Fall Reading List” Chapel Hill Magazine
“The author of “Near Canaan” returns with a diverting tale of three individuals trying to piece together their shattered lives. Ben, a 6-year-old boy who has just witnessed a murder, Lucy, the doctor who treats him and Clare, an elderly lady who has her own dark secrets, all must overcome obstacles in this vivid, winding portrait of American life across several generations.”
“Off the Shelf” — Belfast Telegraph Family Life, 14 Sept, 2018
“[A] well written page turner…. O’Halloran Schwarz’s skillful portrayal of … disparate characters from different worlds makes for an absorbing and rewarding read.”
The Litness Blog
”Schwarz’s scene-work is remarkable, and it’s nearly impossible to read without hearing, smelling, and tasting the atmospheres she creates. The hairs on the back of your neck will stand on end.”
“5/5. The characters are all fantastically written. I felt like they were real people. … The Possible World is amazing.”
“I want to share my top ten reads of 2018….[at] #1 The Possible World by Liese O’Halloran Schwarz… It’s so original and moving. I could not put it down. Definitely my favorite read of 2018. Go read it! Go go go!” - 2018 Wrap Up
Fictionophile’s 2018 Top Reads, Literary and Historical Fiction
Engrossed in a Good Book Blog - “My Book of the Year” 2018
”This is an amazing book. Part historical fiction, part medical drama, wonderful character driven book that totally made me cry in the end. …This is my book of the year.”
Chosen as a Top Book of 2018 by:
Prima Magazine Favourites of 2018
Fictionophile Book Blog (Historical and Literary Fiction)
Engrossed in a Good Book Blog (#1 Book of the Year)
The Librarian in Me Book Blog (#1 of the Top Ten Reads of 2018)
Joe Mallozzi Blog (Fantasy)
Books and Me! Book Blog, “My Favorite Books of 2018”
A Rosie Outlook Book Blog “My Favourite Books of 2018”
Tea Leaves and Reads Blog
“[T]his book will speak to you and will teach you things about people that until now you never stopped to consider. Be ready to look at the world from very different points of views and be ready to have your own challenged. I don’t say this often about books – but this book is more than words could ever describe in a simple review…so… read it.”
“Perfectly paced changes in narration…I enjoyed this so thoroughly, from beginning to end.”
“It’s unexpected, all-consuming, touching and also raw and devastating. It’s a character-driven drama that reads like a thriller. It weaves love and loss together so perfectly, and with the most gorgeous writing.”
Elena Bowes Blog
“[A] page-turner of a novel…imaginative…compelling and believable.” — “The Possible World — Hooked, on Page 1”
“A beautifully written story…deeply rewarding.”
“A unique premise and enchanting story.”
Your Next Novel (Highbrow Holly)
“A multi-layered journey of the ways in which lives take the most surprising turns, the cruelty and resilience of youth, loneliness, and the netherworld beyond our understanding. Beautifully written and extremely affecting, I loved it from start to finish.”
“Books that Span Generations: Our 9 Picks” - June 11, 2019