Amy Gottlieb is the author of The Beautiful Possible: A Novel.
From her Q&A with Deborah Kalb:
Q: How did you come up with the ideas for your characters Walter, Sol, and Rosalie, and for the dynamic that exists among them?--Marshal Zeringue
A: The novel began with Walter, a traumatized German-Jewish refugee caught between worlds. I was compelled by his poetic sensibility and plowed through early drafts to uncover his story.
Along the way, I stumbled upon the characters of Sol and Rosalie, who are struggling to make their way as a rabbinic couple in a postwar suburban synagogue.
The character of Rosalie was influenced by my mother and her friends, who were pushing against their traditional roles as suburban Jewish wives and mothers in the 1960's and '70s. I grew up listening to their stories and Rosalie's voice was very familiar to me.
Sol was my most elusive character, but I recognized his situation. For 14 years I worked as an editor for rabbis, and heard many accounts of religious doubt, professional ambivalence, and the inherent dissonance between a spiritual leader’s love of tradition and a community that may not understand that passion.
This is Sol’s plight, yet I had to write many drafts to understand how he loved both Walter and Rosalie. Each character is marked by...[read on]