The Beautiful Possible by Amy Gottlieb– 336 pages
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.
My Review: 4.5 stars
The Beautiful Possible is just that, beautiful and possibly the only novel I’ll describe as having literary pulchritude. Thanks E.W. for sharing that word with me, and yes people, I had to look it up!
The love triangle is unlike any I’ve read before. All three involved are dynamic, reckless and beautiful souls whose circumstances put them in a woven path of pain, love and heartbreak. Not only does this book celebrate the love between the characters, but it’s also a love story about words and how the reader or recipient interprets them. As Margaret Atwood said, “A word after a word is power.”
Filled with Judaic wisdom, romance, friendship, commitment, love, betrayal and passion, this book is one to read, reflect and remember.
Quotes I liked:
“…if Walter were ever to become a man of prayer, Rosalie would be his tallit.”
-“Every ending is a beginning. Every departure carries the seed of homecoming.”
– “Every action is derived from intention; every teshuvah is borne from a she’elah.”
-“…no one ever tell you that the incessant demands of small children will colonize your brain and make you forget the woman you once believed yourself to be.”
-“Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy.”
-“It takes three, sweet pea. A man and a woman and a living spark that keeps all the desire in motion.”
-“Her longings to shrink herself into a girl tiny enough to jump onto the pages of her father’s books, swim through the words, wrap her legs around the letters.”
-“Books are no more then seeds; we must be both the soil and the atmosphere in which they grow.”