What Could be Saved
By: Liese O'Halloran Schwarz
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: 01/12/2021
My Rating: Currently Reading
“A harrowing tale of the lies of omission and the lies of commission that can break a family apart, What Could Be Saved is a delicious hybrid of mystery, drama, and elegance: rich with detail, lush in language, and capable of keeping you on the edge of your seat.” —Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Spark of Light
Washington, DC, 2019: Laura Preston is a reclusive artist at odds with her older sister Bea as their elegant, formidable mother slowly slides into dementia. When a stranger contacts Laura claiming to be her brother who disappeared forty years earlier when the family lived in Bangkok, Laura ignores Bea’s warnings of a scam and flies to Thailand to see if it can be true. But meeting him in person leads to more questions than answers.
Bangkok, 1972: Genevieve and Robert Preston live in a beautiful house behind a high wall, raising their three children with the help of a cadre of servants. In these exotic surroundings, Genevieve strives to create a semblance of the life they would have had at home in the US—ballet and riding classes for the children, impeccable dinner parties, a meticulously kept home. But in truth, Robert works for American intelligence, Genevieve finds herself drawn into a passionate affair with her husband’s boss, and their serene household is vulnerable to unseen dangers in a rapidly changing world and a country they don’t really understand.
Alternating between past and present as all of the secrets are revealed, What Could Be Saved is an unforgettable novel about a family shattered by loss and betrayal, and the beauty that can exist even in the midst of brokenness.
"A harrowing tale of the lies of omission and the lies of commission that can break a family apart, What Could Be Saved is a delicious hybrid of mystery, drama, and elegance: rich with detail, lush in language, and capable of keeping you on the edge of your seat. " —Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Spark of Light and Small Great Things
"What Could Be Saved transported me. Liese O'Halloran Schwarz’s exquisite and memorable writing has me still thinking about the ways in which the past influences the present, the complexities of family life, and the ways we negotiate challenges, tragedies, and secrets." —Lisa See, New York Times bestselling author of The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane
“Superb...Schwarz is a remarkable storyteller...[This] stellar work is riveting.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Immersive, profoundly moving, and gorgeously told, What Could Be Saved tells the story of one family’s lost then rediscovered son, exploring both cause and consequence with insightful empathy. With a cast of vivid characters, a captivating story, and a fluid style, What Could Be Saved is an unforgettable reading experience, one to savor and then share with everyone you know." —Laura Sims, author of Looker
"A gripping story of a family unraveling and the sibling love that ultimately endures. A great read.” —Jessica Francis Kane, author of Rules for Visiting
“Grounded in its deeply realized characters and the relationships among them…the author layers in a consideration of power dynamics, racism, and privilege in a way that adds an undercurrent of realism… At the same time, the book is a gripping mystery that subtly ratchets up the tension with each chapter. A richly imagined page-turner that delivers twists alongside thought-provoking commentary." —Kirkus Reviews
“A rich, complex novel…and just the kind of book you want to sink into on a winter’s day.” –Real Simple, Top Picks
“Schwarz reveals all in compelling, 'can't put it down' prose while at the same time building masterfully developed characters.”
“This brilliant portrayal of the lives of expats and their servants is also a suspenseful mystery with ever-darkening twists. For fans of A Little Life and The Goldfinch.” —People, Book of the Week
About the Author
Liese O'Halloran Schwarz grew up in Washington, DC after an early childhood overseas. She attended Harvard University, and then medical school at University of Virginia. While in medical school, she won the Henfield/Transatlantic Review Prize for her short fiction, and also published her first novel, Near Canaan.
She specialized in emergency medicine, eventually returned to writing, and published her second novel, The Possible World , in June 2018. Her third novel, What Could Be Saved, is slated for publication in January 2021.
She currently lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and is at work on the next book.