Book Review: The Beautiful Possible

Product DetailsIn November of 1938, a young, Jewish man named Walter survives a horrific, life-changing tragedy in Germany. Fleeing Europe as a lost soul in need of healing, Walter boards the wrong ship and travels to India. Discovered by a scholar who recognizes his promise, Walter arrives in the United States a strange and disheveled young man in Indian garb. At the scholar’s insistence, Walter enrolls in a Jewish Seminary. There he meets Sol, a promising rabbinical student who lacks Walter’s insights, and Sol’s fiancee, Rosalie, the daughter of a free-thinking rabbi. These three form a love triangle that endures for decades.

Amy Gottlieb has written a  beautiful, first novel. On one level, Possible is about the bonds that bind the three main characters throughout their adult lives and play out in the next generation. However, on a deeper level, this book is a meditation on faith and religion, on love and faithfulness, on feminism, on the times in which the characters lived, and on the meaning of life. On both levels, Gottlieb has written a truly satisfying novel.

(Reviewed in exchange for a copy of the book in San Francisco Book Review.)