• Paperback: 336 pages
• Publisher: Harper Perennial (February 16, 2016)
“I’ve never read anything quite like this lyrical and infinitely wise novel. . . . If books could shimmer, this one would.”—Elizabeth Berg, author of The Dream Lover
Spanning seventy years and several continents, this enthralling novel tells the braided love story of three unforgettable characters. In 1946, Walter Westhaus, a German-Jewish refugee who spent the war years at Tagore’s ashram in India, arrives at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City, where he meets Sol Kerem, a promising rabbinical student. A brilliant nonbeliever, Walter is the perfect foil for Sol’s spiritual questions . . . and an alluring paramour for Sol’s free-spirited fiancée, Rosalie. Months later they shatter their impossible bond, retreating to opposite sides of the country—Walter to pursue an academic career in Berkeley, and Sol and Rosalie to lead a congregation in suburban New York. A chance meeting years later reconnects them—catching three hearts and minds in a complex web of desire, heartbreak, and redemption. With extraordinary empathy and virtuosic skill, The Beautiful Possible considers the hidden boundaries of marriage and faith, and the mysterious ways we negotiate our desires.
“Enchanting. . . . Read it once for its story, again for its wisdom, and one more time for its poetry and truth.”—Rodger Kamenetz, author of The Jew in the Lotus and The History of Last Night’s Dream
Happy Friday!!!! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Beautiful Possible by Amy Gottlieb. I’d like to say a big thank you to the author, TLC Book Tours and Harper Perennial for giving me the chance to read an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The Beautiful Possible is a work of historical fiction. It is told in the perspectives of our three main characters Walter, Rosaline and Sol. Walter is a German Jew who has experienced great tragedy which prompts his exodus to India where he means Paul, a man who ultimately guides him to America. There he meets Sol and his fiancée Rosaline when Sol is studying to become a Rabbi. Throughout the book their lives intertwine in many, unexpected ways. I truly cannot even summarize everything that happens in this book, it was fascinating to me and I know this is a book that will stay with me.
I loved this book. I read it in a day so that in itself tells you how much I couldn’t put it down. It was gripping and beautiful. It was also a little sad. There’s quite a bit of tragedy in this book for all of our main characters which comes in a few forms like loss, forbidden love and the discovery of heartbreaking secrets. All losses in their own right.
Reading this book sort of reminded me of the reading experience I had of reading The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom which was one of my most favorite books of last year. The mood and tone of this book was very similar and the writing just as beautiful and I found myself rereading select sentences because of how beautiful they were.
I definitely recommend this book to historical fiction lovers although the historical fiction-y feeling is pretty light and the time actually spans up to 2003 which is fairly modern so the scope of this book is big, and it’s just beautiful. There is a definite historical setting and allusions to events but the story focuses much more on the relationships and lives of our three main characters. I ended up giving this book a five star review and I cannot wait to purchase the final copy so that I can place it in my personal collection and reread it!
About Amy Gottlieb
Amy Gottlieb’s fiction and poetry have been published in many literary journals and anthologies, and she is the recipient of fellowships from the Bronx Council on the Arts and the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education. She lives in New York City.