Excerpt from Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Anything Is Possible

Amgash Series #2

by Elizabeth Strout

Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout X
Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2017, 272 pages

    Paperback:
    Mar 2018, 288 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kate Braithwaite
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In the dress shop, with its bell that announced his entrance, was Marilyn Macauley, trying on a dress. "Tommy, what brings you in here?" Marilyn was thinking of getting the dress for her granddaughter's baptism a few Sundays from now, she said, and she tugged on the side of it; it was beige with swirling red roses; she was without her shoes, standing in just her stockings. She said that it was an extravagance to buy a new dress for such a thing, but that she felt like it. Tommy—­who had known Marilyn for years, first when she was in high school as a student in Amgash—­saw her embarrassment, and he said he didn't think it was an extravagance at all. Then he said, "When you have a chance, Marilyn, can you help me find something for my wife?" He saw her become efficient then, and she said yes, she certainly would, and she went into the changing room and came back out in her regular clothes, a black skirt and a blue sweater, with her flat black shoes on, and right away she took Tommy over to the scarves. "Here," she said, pulling out a red scarf that had a design with gold threads running through it. Tommy held it, but picked up a flowery scarf with his other hand. "Maybe this," he said. And Marilyn said, "Yes, that looks like Shirley," and then Tommy understood that Marilyn liked the red scarf herself but would never allow herself to buy it. Marilyn, that first year Tommy worked as a janitor, had been a lovely girl, saying "Hi, Mr. Guptill!" whenever she saw him, and now she had become an older woman, nervous, thin, her face pinched. Tommy thought what other people thought, it was because her husband had been in Vietnam and had never afterward been the same; Tommy would see Charlie Macauley around town, and he always looked so far away, the poor man, and poor Marilyn too. So Tommy held the red scarf with the gold threads for a minute as though considering it, then said, "I think you're right, this one looks more like Shirley," and took the flowery one to the register. He thanked Marilyn for her help.

"I think she'll love it," Marilyn said, and Tommy said he was sure she would.

Excerpted from Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout. Copyright © 2017 by Elizabeth Strout. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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