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In the idyllic ski town of Breckenridge, Colorado, Sarah St. John is reeling. Three months ago, her 22-year-old son, Cully, died in an avalanche. Though single, Sarah is hardly alone in her grief. Her father, a retiree, tries to distract her with gadgets from the QVC home shopping channel. Sarah’s best friend offers life advice by venting details of her own messy divorce. Even Cully’s father reemerges, stirring more emotions and confusion than Sarah needs. Still, Sarah feels she is facing the stages of grief - the anger, the sadness, the letting go - alone.
Barely ready to face the fact she will never again hear the swoosh of her son’s ski pants, or watch him skateboard past her window, Sarah is surprised when a strange girl arrives on her doorstep. Unexpected and unexplained, she bears a secret from Cully that could change all of their lives forever.
Kaui Hart Hemmings highlights the subtle poignancies of grief and relationships in this stunning look at people faced with impossible choices in the wake of a tragedy. With the unsentimental and refreshingly wry style famous for presenting trouble in paradise in The Descendants, Hemmings in The Possibilities considers the difficult questions of what we risk to keep our loved ones close.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Pamela Harvey on 05-29-14
Not of "The Descendants" caliber
I bought this book, preview unheard, because "The Descendants" is high on my list of faves.
But I found this novel to be nowhere near the quality of "The Descendants". Hemmings uses some of the same devices as in "The Descendants" but somehow they do not add up. Foremost amongst these is the presence of an unseen character who, because of death or coma, has a past but will have no future. In this case it is the protagonist's son, Cully, who has died in a snowboarding accident. I may be wrong on those details, but his presence is a character throughout the book, even though he is no longer available to actively participate in the story. Similar to the narrator's wife in "The Descendants" who is in a coma after a boating accident.
And, also, both novels are staged in a resort area, but the stories evolve from the perspective of a native.
There is also the background layer of heritage and family history.
But there the similarity ends.
I found this story to be lacking in focus and direction, and missing that sense of pace and movement towards a completion. The characters were rather limited and incompletely fleshed out, and I was always having to work to create in my mind a character's "look" and animus. I like a little bit of description, but here there wasn't enough.
The narrator sounded way younger than the main character would be at her stage in life.
So, if you are looking for a Kaui Hart Hemmings novel that's on a par with "The Descendants" you will have to wait until her next offering.
11 of 17 people found this review helpful
By Alison on 06-07-14
What made the experience of listening to The Possibilities the most enjoyable?
I laughed, I cried, I fell in love with all the characters and I didn't want the story to end.
What did you like best about this story?
It's rare to have a narrator who is so honest, authentic, raw and real. Love love loved her.
Which scene was your favorite?
The interaction between Sarah and Kit was extraordinary--I loved the confusion of emotions that flashed between them but also the true love.
Any additional comments?
Can't wait for Kaui Hemming's next book -- she is a brilliant writer.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful