Liese O’Halloran Schwarz joins us to discuss her new novel What Could Be Saved, a Bookreporter Bets On selection. The book began as a short story in which she reflected on her life in Bangkok as a child. The bones of the story were there and grew to be the novel we have now.
What Could Be Saved follows the perspectives of a family. When the book opens, it’s 2019. We meet Laura Preston, an artist who struggles with her sister about family matters and whose mother is dealing with dementia. A stranger calls claiming to know where her brother Philip is; this is the brother who has been missing for forty years.
The book pivots to 1972, and the story flips to the perspective of Laura’s parents and household staff as the children grow up. We see the family living happily, and then Philip disappears before they return to the United States.
Liese, who worked for decades as an emergency room doctor, talks with Carol about how writing was always a part of her life–even as she was practicing medicine. Her relationship with her sister, an author named Carla Buckley, was much different than Laura and Bea’s, but has found its way into the books. She speaks at length about her writing process, but especially about the elements that make her fiction both engrossing and powerful.
Books discussed in this episode:
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