The Possibilities

The Possibilities

4.6 7
by Kaui Hart Hemmings
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

In this highly anticipated novel from the bestselling author of The Descendants, a grieving mother struggles to overcome her son’s death, when a strange girl enters her life with a secret that changes them both forever.

From New York Times bestselling author Kaui Hart Hemmings comes the highly anticipated follow-up to The Descendants

…  See more details below

Overview

In this highly anticipated novel from the bestselling author of The Descendants, a grieving mother struggles to overcome her son’s death, when a strange girl enters her life with a secret that changes them both forever.

From New York Times bestselling author Kaui Hart Hemmings comes the highly anticipated follow-up to The Descendants.

IN THE IDYLLIC SKI TOWN of Breckenridge, Colorado, Sarah St. John is reeling. Three months ago, her twenty-two-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.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Helen Schulman
What's fresh about Hemmings's book isn't the various story lines but the characters' antic personalities and the language with which she creates them. Hemmings can be affecting in her descriptions of Sarah's baby steps back into the world, and certainly Sarah's rich and quirky relationship with her father is rewarding for both Sarah and for Hemmings's readers…And Hemmings can be quite stirring when those baby steps turn into blind leaps into tempestuous emotional waters…[a] surprisingly entertaining and intermittently moving novel…
Publishers Weekly
★ 01/13/2014
A grieving mother tries to make peace with her son’s death in this wry and heartwarming second novel from the author of The Descendants. Sarah St. John, a talk show host in the seasonal ski town of Breckenridge, Colo., is devastated when her 22-year-old son, Cully, is killed by an avalanche. She seeks solace in an unorthodox support group: her impolitic father, who lives with her; her best friend, Suzanne, whose own divorce occupies her attention; and Billy, Cully’s father, whose distance from Sarah’s life diminishes as they grieve for their son together. On the cusp of emotional recovery, Sarah and her family are thrown again when they meet a young woman whose story raises new questions about Cully’s life. With a deft and dry humor, Hemmings tackles the unique and unexpectedly humorous ways in which one is expected to mourn: a woman in town whose son died in a similar accident asks Sarah to join Parents Against Avalanche Disaster, “as if by not joining PAAD you were promoting avalanche disaster.” But, on closer inspection, the novel is a treatise on parenthood: Sarah struggles less with Cully’s death, and more with the fear that she never really knew him at all. “What’s the point of everything parents do,” she asks herself, “if the kids aren’t going to employ us?” Agent: David Forrer, Inkwell Management. (May)
From the Publisher
"Kaui Hart Hemmings’ novel is a graceful, subtle primer on freedom—the means by which we free (and forgive) ourselves, our parents, and our children, as well as the almost unbearable getting-of-wisdom by which we free our beloved dead. The Possibilities is familiar to us, in all its wit and intelligence, because we know the characters. We are the characters."
—Susanna Moore, author of The Life of Objects

"In smooth, nuanced prose, Kuai Hart Hemmings deftly captures the emotional hurtles that pin our day-to-day lives to the map of the universe. The Possibilities is a heartrending story of grief, resilience, and ultimately joy in all the tumult that loving other people inevitably demands. A soulful gem of a novel that reminds us to treasure every fleeting, crystalline moment of family love and our imperfect lives."
—Carol Cassella, author of Gemini

"As she did in The Descendants (2007), Hemmings deftly deploys her idyllic setting, leavens tragedy with humor, avoids sentimentality, and offers characters whom readers will find very appealing."
Booklist (starred review)

“A strong second showing for readers who enjoy modern characters, some laughs, and a good cry.” —Library Journal

"Hemmings writes a piercing, empathetic story about parenthood and unfathomable heartbreak and manages to bring humor and hope to her characters. Emotionally complex and relatable to all, it will be particularly understandable to those who’ve experienced the inexplicable, devastating loss of a loved one."
Kirkus (starred review)

“A grieving mother tries to make peace with her son’s death in this wry and heartwarming second novel from the author of The Descendants…With a deft and dry humor, Hemmings tackles the unique and unexpectedly humorous ways in which one is expected to mourn… a treatise on parenthood.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“No question this talented writer owns paradise.”
Houston Chronicle

“Hemmings has dreamed up a beguiling assortment of characters…Funny, insightful and unsentimental, the book confirms that yes, people drive each other crazy much of the time, but as often as they fail, they never stop trying to rise to the occasion.”
People (4 stars)

“What’s fresh about Hemmings’s book isn’t the various story lines but the characters’ antic personalities and the language with which she creates them… surprisingly entertaining and intermittently moving…The Possibilities is a novel about learning to move forward, even while haunted by such dark thoughts.”
New York Times Book Review

"[The Possibilities] is engagingly direct and unsentimental, somehow familiar yet richly, astutely observant and reflective. Hemmings has created a vivid, memorable group of flawed yet likable kindred spirits in whom we become deeply invested, charmed by the realistic rhythms and irreverent non sequiturs of their lively conversations."—The Boston Globe

The Possibilities stands on its own, and despite its popular appeal, Hemmings' second novel has literary chops too….The inconsistency of humanity is gorgeous and sad and exhilarating, and Hemmings captures it as well as she ever has.”
Chicago Tribune

“The characters are so real, so warm and sympathetic, that you'd be happy to follow them to and from the grocery store just for the pure pleasure of their company. The language is frisky and funny…A gorgeous, smart book about letting go, and seeing all that remains, and then learning to cherish all the possibilities left to you with gratitude and grace.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“Lifelong Breckenridge resident Sarah St. John narrates her story with wry, honest reflections on unattained dreams, friendship and, mainly, parenthood…It feels good to be along for the ride.”
Seattle Times

Susanna Moore
Kaui Hart Hemmings’ novel is a graceful, subtle primer on freedom —- the means by which we free (and forgive) ourselves, our parents, and our children, as well as the almost unbearable getting-of-wisdom by which we free our beloved dead. The Possibilities is familiar to us, in all its wit and intelligence, because we know the characters. We are the characters.

starred review Booklist
As she did in The Descendants (2007), Hemmings deftly deploys her idyllic setting, leavens tragedy with humor, avoids sentimentality, and offers characters whom readers will find very appealing.
Carol Cassella
"In smooth, nuanced prose, Kuai Hart Hemmings deftly captures the emotional hurtles that pin our day-to-day lives to the map of the universe. The Possibilities is a heartrending story of grief, resilience, and ultimately joy in all the tumult that loving other people inevitably demands. A soulful gem of a novel that reminds us to treasure every fleeting, crystalline moment of family love and our imperfect lives."
Library Journal
02/15/2014
Because Hemmings's first novel, The Descendants, was adapted into a successful movie starring George Clooney, her follow-up is bound to be held up to that standard. There are many similarities: both novels center on dealing with grief and illustrate the author's love of place; sunny Hawaii in the former and Breckenridge, CO, in the latter. Both provide bright splashes of humor mixed with insight into messy family relationships. Narrator Sarah St. John is a single mom whose 22-year-old son, Cully, died in an avalanche while snowboarding. Sarah is struggling to come to terms with Cully's death, as is her father, Lyle, and Cully's father, Billy, whom Sarah never married. When Kit appears with her own reasons to mourn Cully, all the protagonists start thinking about the possibilities of what could have been and what could be. VERDICT The book has some rambling, stream-of-consciousness moments while Sarah tries to process all her emotions, and it lacks a deliciously snarky teenage character—but does offer a comic foil in Suzanne, Sarah's pot-smoking, plain-speaking best friend. Despite these slight flaws, this is a strong second showing for readers who enjoy modern characters, some laughs, and a good cry. [See Prepub Alert, 11/11/13.]—Christine Perkins, Whatcom County Lib. Syst., Bellingham, WA
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-03-20
Three months after an avalanche killed her son, a single mother takes tentative steps toward healing in Hemmings' (The Descendants, 2007, etc.) astute and sensitive examination of relationships, loss and grief. Swamped in a vortex of survivor's guilt and unanswered questions about 22-year-old Cully's skiing accident near their Breckenridge, Colo., home, Sarah St. John finds no comfort returning to her job hosting a TV show for tourists. Her father, a retiree addicted to QVC, has taken up permanent residence in her home; her best friend, Suzanne, though supportive, has her own problems and sometimes voices unsympathetic and inappropriate thoughts ("Divorce is the death of a marriage"). Sarah fluctuates between paralyzing sorrow and intense anger. She questions her parenting skills and seethes when a well-meaning acquaintance tries to forge a link between Cully's death and the skiing death of her own son years ago by suggesting they both died doing something they loved. Discomfited by a large amount of cash and baggies of marijuana she and Suzanne find while sorting through Cully's belongings, Sarah tortures herself with thoughts that her son was perceived as a bad person and is then disconcerted to learn that he shared confidences with his father and grandfather that he didn't share with her. When Kit, a young waitress, enters the picture and claims she and Cully had a relationship, Sarah is leery but offers her support and assistance. The journey they take to an event billed as a memorial (arranged by Suzanne's daughter) is mutually beneficial as Sarah mulls a proposal from Kit and slowly awakens to the understanding that her grief and sense of loss are not exclusive. Heartache, she realizes, comes in different forms and depths and is expressed in a variety of ways. No matter what, though, pain is pain. Hemmings writes a piercing, empathetic story about parenthood and unfathomable heartbreak and manages to bring humor and hope to her characters. Emotionally complex and relatable to all, it will be particularly understandable to those who've experienced the inexplicable, devastating loss of a loved one.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781410469908
Publisher:
Gale Group
Publication date:
06/18/2014
Edition description:
Large Print
Pages:
429
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Kaui Hart Hemmings has degrees from Colorado College and Sarah Lawrence, and she was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Her first novel, a New York Times bestseller, The Descendants, has been published in twenty-two other countries and is now an Oscar-winning film directed by Alexander Payne and starring George Clooney. She is also the author of a story collection House of Thieves, the novel The Possibilities and the YA novel Juniors. She lives in Hawaii.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

The Possibilities: A Novel 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kaui Hart Hemmings does not disappoint in her latest novel set in Colorado. The story of a family and friends navigating their individual paths of grief following a tragedy. Hemmings is an elegant writer with a flare for dialogue. Her characters are heartfelt from the first page.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My nook is messed up
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
.............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................,.......................................................................... Find the comma (,)