Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Book Review: The Beautiful Possible by Amy Gottlieb

Title: The Beautiful Possible
Date Published: February 16, 2016
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Source: TLC Book Tours


This epic, enthralling debut novel—in the vein of Nicole Krauss’ The History of Love—follows a postwar love triangle between an American rabbi, his wife, and a German-Jewish refugee.

Spanning seventy years and several continents—from a refugee’s shattered dreams in 1938 Berlin, to a discontented American couple in the 1950s, to a young woman’s life in modern-day Jerusalem—this epic, enthralling novel tells the braided love story of three unforgettable characters. In 1946, Walter Westhaus, a German Jew 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 their extraordinary connection is too wonderful not to share with Sol’s free-spirited fiancée Rosalie. Soon Walter and Rosalie are exchanging notes, sketches, and secrets, and begin a transcendent love affair in his attic room, a temple of dusty tomes and whispered poetry. Months later they shatter their impossible bond, retreating to opposite sides of the country—Walter to pursue an academic career in Berkeley and Rosalie and Sol to lead a congregation in suburban New York. A chance meeting years later reconnects Walter, Sol, and Rosalie—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.

I love it when I pick up a debut novel and feel as if I am transported into the characters world. There are some people that might give moral pause to some of the choices the characters make in this novel, but I for one live my life not judging others choices, especially if there was never intent on harm, which there wasn't in this case.

Because the book has a strong Jewish overtone, I did have some problems connecting with that aspect of the novel. But, it didn't distract me from following Walter, Rosalie and Sol on their paths together and apart. At times I had a hard time connecting with the characters, but thankfully the author was able to write a plot that flowed smoothly like a calm river, leading you forward to find out where the journey would lead. 

I really liked Rosalie and how she connects with both Sol and Walter. And to follow her path throughout the book and time was enjoyable. 

I'm really glad I read this novel and can't wait to see what this author has in store for us next. 

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. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed the book! Thanks for being a part of the tour.