Possible World
by Schwarz, Liese O'Halloran

"A novel set in Rhode Island over the course of a century about a young boy, an ER doctor, and an elderly woman, and how their lives converge in the aftermath of a brutal murder"-

Schwarz's second novel (after Near Canaan, 1990) powerfully intertwines the stories of three apparent strangers. Ben is a bright and precocious 6-year-old when he attends a friend's birthday party-and becomes the only survivor of the murderous rampage that also took the life of his mother. The trauma of the incident has left him with no memory of the event or any of his life before arriving at the hospital. Lucy, a trauma resident, feels a strong connection to Ben, but she isn't sure exactly why or how she can help him. She's not exactly in the best place to heal a child with severe psychological trauma. She can barely handle her own. In a nearby nursing home, Clare is about to turn 100 years old. No one alive really knows her, not even her real name-and that's how she likes it. But if no one is left to tell her story, will she have really ever lived? Schwarz blends beautifully crafted prose with three highly compelling tales into one overarching saga of loss and memory. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

A young boy loses his mother to a violent crime and struggles with his own identity in the aftermath of tragedy. Dr. Lucy Cole is slugging her way through another night on call in the emergency room when the police bring in a 6-year-old boy they'd rescued from a crime scene. The boy calls himself Leo, and he can't remember anything about either the crime or his life prior to that evening. As Lucy attempts to assess whether the blood covering the boy is his own, she feels a startling connection to the child. She soon discovers that Leo's real name is Ben, and his mother was among the victims murdered that evening, leaving him an orphan. The story then shifts perspective, and the reader is introduced to Clare, a woman of almost 100 who lives across town in a nursing home. Clare is surprisingly lucid and independent for a woman her age, and a new resident of the facility named Gloria is driving her crazy with constant requests to record her life story. It quickly becomes apparen t that Clare has something to hide. As the story unfolds, the perspective continues to shift among Lucy, Ben, and Clare, each character slowly revealing more about his or her past. Lucy can't shake her interest in Ben and continues to visit him in the pediatric psych ward. The doctors believe Ben has dissociative identity disorder, but Lucy begins to wonder whether the boy actually used to be a person by the name of Leo, literally in another life. 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. Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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