Michelle Herbert reviews The Possible World by Liese O’Halloran Schwarz…
The Possible World is a book that is hard to pigeonhole, which is a good thing. It is a book that focuses on three protagonists, each with their own lives and stories which slowly shows how they are each connected. The Possible World, lets us think about the human condition, about what is loneliness and how it affects people differently, and also allows us to think about what conditions make a family
The book is split between each of the characters perspectives and each chapter switches between them. The book starts when we meet Ben a six-year-old boy who is the only witness to a terrible tragedy, followed by Lisa, who is the doctor that treats Ben at the hospital. The third character is Clare, who at the start seems the most disconnected from Ben and Lisa, as Clare is a woman who is around 100 years of age, hiding who she was from the world.
Each of these characters is fascinating, whether we are learning about Clare and how she begins to open up to a new resident at her care home. Clare is also a mediation into the old being ignored and overlooked at times. Ben, while in hospital is diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder, as he no longer remembers being Ben and the Doctors do not know what to do with him as he has no surviving family. Lisa’s chapters are all about working out who she wants to be and how she can achieve it. You really feel like you are going on a journey with these characters and you want something good to come out of all of their unhappiness.
This is a beautifully written story that connects all three characters naturally. I felt that you could see the ending coming, but rather than feeling contrived, the ending feels more like closure. This is a book filled with tragedy, but it is also about finding out who you are and being true to yourself. Sometimes it really is a case of finding your best life, through facing adversity and choosing your own path. This is a deeply rewarding book that really lets you get to know these characters and how they got to the present.