The publication of a book by Elizabeth Strout always merits rejoicing and this one is especially welcome, for two reasons. First, Strout used to take an agonising number of years to produce a new book, but the gap between this and its predecessor, the bestselling novel My Name Is Lucy Barton, has been less then eighteen months. Secondly, and more importantly, Anything Is Possible is absolutely wonderful. Here is a writer at the peak of her powers: compassionate, profoundly observant, laser-cut diamond brilliant.
The many admirers of My Name Is Lucy Barton will be at once appeased and frustrated by Strout’s latest book. Like the marvellous Olive Kitteridge, this is a collection of linked short stories, but though these new ones all have some connection to Lucy Barton, she herself appears only fleetingly.