Olive Kitteridge

Olive Kitteridge

Book - 2014
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In a voice more powerful and compassionate than ever before, New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Strout binds together thirteen rich, luminous narratives into a book with the heft of a novel, through the presence of one larger-than-life, unforgettable character: Olive Kitteridge.

At the edge of the continent, Crosby, Maine, may seem like nowhere, but seen through this brilliant writer's eyes, it's in essence the whole world, and the lives that are lived there are filled with all of the grand human drama-desire, despair, jealousy, hope, and love.

At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town and in the world at large, but she doesn't always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance: a former student who has lost the will to live: Olive's own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse.

As the townspeople grapple with their problems, mild and dire, Olive is brought to a deeper understanding of herself and her life-sometimes painfully, but always with ruthless honesty. Olive Kitteridge offers profound insights into the human condition-its conflicts, its tragedies and joys, and the endurance it requires.

People * USA Today * The Atlantic * The Washington Post Book World * Seattle Post-Intelligencer * Entertainment Weekly * The Christian Science Monitor * San Francisco Chronicle * Salon * San Antonio Express-News * Chicago Tribune * The Wall Street Journal

"Perceptive, deeply empathetic . . . Olive is the axis around which these thirteen complex, relentlessly human narratives spin themselves into Elizabeth Strout's unforgettable novel in stories." --O: The Oprah Magazine

"Fiction lovers, remember this name: Olive Kitteridge . . . . You'll never forget her. . . . [Elizabeth Strout] constructs her stories with rich irony and moments of genuine surprise and intense emotion. . . . Glorious, powerful stuff." --USA Today

"Funny, wicked and remorseful, Mrs. Kitteridge is a compelling life force, a red-blooded original. When she's not onstage, we look forward to her return. The book is a page-turner because of her." -- San Francisco Chronicle

" Olive Kitteridge still lingers in memory like a treasured photograph." --Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"Rarely does a story collection pack such a gutsy emotional punch." --Entertainment Weekly

"Strout animates the ordinary with astonishing force. . . . [She] makes us experience not only the terrors of change but also the terrifying hope that change can bring: she plunges us into these churning waters and we come up gasping for air." --The New Yorker
Publisher: Canada :, Random House Trade Paperbacks,, 2014
ISBN: 9780812987638
Branch Call Number: ON ORDER 2020
Characteristics: 301 pages ; 1 x 13 cm


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LPL_SarahM Oct 15, 2020

I loved Olive Kitteridge and her complicated life. The way the stories were interwoven to show others' perspectives on her personality was a really fun way to get to know her. She is not perfect which made her all the more realistic and loveable.

Jul 29, 2020

I read this one the minute it won the Pulitzer but back then I wasn’t at all into fiction. I think my brain was hungry for facts and thought that was the only way to learn great cocktail conversation. I don’t remember enjoying it half as much as I did this time. Maybe because this time I am familiar with the author’s style, her way of creating a community through characters who are the star of their own chapter. This way of organizing the story creates a different way of looking at each character - like having two eyes instead of one. You see how the character thinks and why they do the things they do, and then later on, you see these characters from the perspective of those around them when they get to be the star of the chapter. It’s a style I can’t get enough of and luckily it’s the style the author has used in every book I’ve read so far. This is probably why people like series - so you don’t have to get to know new characters and say good bye to beloved ones.

If you haven’t read this, you aren’t going to be convinced that a woman who is big, direct, blunt, and clearly doesn’t like people, is the best thing ever. But she is and it’s a gift to us that we get Olive, Again so we don’t have to say goodbye to her and all the characters in this story. Olive, Again ties up all the loose ends from this book, and it all ends in such a satisfying way that rereading this one just to prepare for reading OIive, Again was a delight.

Such a unique voice and original characters, and timeless, and I want to be honest, caring, direct and real, and truly alive like Olive. Only maybe not as big. I don’t like taking up space, although it’s fun to inhabit her character and be big just to know it’s not easy.

Mar 31, 2020

The strength of the book was the amazing descriptions of feelings.

Jan 28, 2020

Like the other comments below, I appreciated the fine writing and was moved by several of the stories but could only get through a portion of the book. If I owned the book I would read one or two stories and then put it aside for a time so as not to get too depressed.

Jan 20, 2020

Am I the only person who really DISLIKES this book? Every character is horrible in one way or another. I read half of the book then decided i couldn’t go any further.

I began reading this book with the preconceived notion that I was going to like it. I found it slow going and very depressing. Maybe I felt this way because I am middle aged. Maybe I felt this way because my middle aged boyfriend died this year. It was too real for me. I prefer something that I can use to escape reality and become part of in my mind. I did not want to be in this scenario because I am already there at 56. It was not for me. It was very well written though, and in that respect it deserved three stars.

Nov 16, 2019

I started reading this years ago, and I can't remember now why I stopped, but with the release of Olive, Again, I knew I had to finish. I really enjoyed the book, especially the stories that I had read before. Standouts for me include "A Little Burst" and "Basket of Trips", but I could easily list at least 3 others.

The characters all feel like real people living real lives. I recommend this to people who like to read linked stories and don't mind a slower read and flawed characters. Olive, particularly, can be hard to like but at other times is capable of great empathy. Similar authors include Richard Russo, Kent Haruf, and Marilynne Robinson.

Nov 03, 2019

Great stories about realistic people dealing with honest problems. So nice to read something centered on a woman of "mature years" that takes her and her emotions seriously.

Oct 20, 2019


Oct 12, 2019


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ArapahoeSusanW Oct 08, 2016

A real downer about aging, marriage and New England made me reach for the helpline.

Jul 06, 2015

My life story.

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nreynolds Sep 08, 2010

nreynolds thinks this title is suitable for 40 years and over


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PimaLib_SherrieB Dec 09, 2014

An innocent, Olive thinks, gazing at this woman. A real one. You don't find them anymore. Boy, you do not.


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