What Could Be Saved: Book summary and reviews of What Could Be Saved by Liese O'Halloran Schwarz

What Could Be Saved

by Liese O'Halloran Schwarz

What Could Be Saved by Liese O'Halloran Schwarz X
What Could Be Saved by Liese O'Halloran Schwarz
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2021
    464 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Washington, DC, 2019: Laura Preston is a reclusive artist at odds with her older sister Bea as their elegant, formidable mother slowly slides into dementia.

When a stranger contacts Laura claiming to be her brother who disappeared forty years earlier when the family lived in Bangkok, Laura ignores Bea's warnings of a scam and flies to Thailand to see if it can be true. But meeting him in person leads to more questions than answers.

Bangkok, 1972: Genevieve and Robert Preston live in a beautiful house behind a high wall, raising their three children with the help of a cadre of servants. In these exotic surroundings, Genevieve strives to create a semblance of the life they would have had at home in the US—ballet and riding classes for the children, impeccable dinner parties, a meticulously kept home. But in truth, Robert works for American intelligence, Genevieve finds herself drawn into a passionate affair with her husband's boss, and their serene household is vulnerable to unseen dangers in a rapidly changing world and a country they don't really understand.

Alternating between past and present as all of the secrets are revealed, What Could Be Saved is an unforgettable novel about a family shattered by loss and betrayal, and the beauty that can exist even in the midst of brokenness.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[S]uperb... Schwarz is a remarkable storyteller, juggling many characters, and the seamless alternating chapters narrated by Laura and a servant from the Preston's house in Bangkok gradually deepen the reader's understanding of the past and present. Schwarz's stellar work is riveting from its start all the way to the final horrifying twist." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"[T]he novel is grounded in its deeply realized characters and the relationships among them, but the author layers in a consideration of power dynamics, racism, and privilege in a way that adds an undercurrent of realism and ugliness...A richly imagined page-turner that delivers twists alongside thought-provoking commentary." - Kirkus Reviews

"A harrowing tale of the lies of omission and the lies of commission that can break a family apart, What Could Be Saved is a delicious hybrid of mystery, drama, and elegance: rich with detail, lush in language, and capable of keeping you on the edge of your seat. " - Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Spark of Light and Small Great Things

"What Could Be Saved transported me. Liese O'Halloran Schwarz's exquisite and memorable writing has me still thinking about the ways in which the past influences the present, the complexities of family life, and the ways we negotiate challenges, tragedies, and secrets." - Lisa See, New York Times bestselling author of The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

"Immersive, profoundly moving, and gorgeously told, What Could Be Saved tells the story of one family's lost then rediscovered son, exploring both cause and consequence with insightful empathy. With a cast of vivid characters, a captivating story, and a fluid style, What Could Be Saved is an unforgettable reading experience, one to savor and then share with everyone you know." - Laura Sims, author of Looker

This information about What Could Be Saved shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Liese O'Halloran Schwarz

Liese O'Halloran Schwarz, a former emergency medicine doctor, published her first novel Near Canaan while still in medical school. She is also the author of the acclaimed novel The Possible World and the forthcoming What Could Be Saved. She currently lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

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