The Possible World by Liese O’Halloran Schwarz

Published: 2018 1. First lines. 2. Cover: Simon & Schuster 3. Boy [Public Domain] via PxHere 4. Woman [Public Domain] via Pixabay 5. Elderly woman [Public Domain] via Wikimedia

Six-year-old Ben has survived a horrifying crime, and now, not speaking, is undergoing therapy at the same hospital as Lucy, a young nurse who feels a connection with the boy. Another strand to the story is Clare, in her nineties, who has kept her life story secret, and is now ready to tell someone.

After they kill me, there is nothing.

This is a “bittersweet story full of imagination and nostalgia, loss and redemption.” Kirkus. I felt that the connections among the characters took a long time to be revealed, and so it sometimes felt that the narrative wasn’t moving along, so I agreed with Publishers Weekly: “Schwarz’s prose is assured and lyrical, infusing each narrative with sensory and emotional detail. However, that same detail also dilutes the main story line, making the moment when these narratives finally intersect feel somewhat rushed.”


“In any case, there would be an after; these visits reminded me of that. This long, difficult time would come to an end.” 

“And doctors tell patients, Just a little pinch. Meaning, This is going to hurt like hell. They say, It want take long. Meaning, You’ll be waiting for hours. They say, She didn’t suffer. Meaning, I know that’s what you want to hear.”

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