Olive Kitteridge

Olive Kitteridge

Book - 2008
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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

From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: New York : Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2008
Edition: Random House trade pbk ed. --
ISBN: 9780812971835
Branch Call Number: FIC Strou 3564
Characteristics: 286 p. --


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Apr 23, 2018

Elizabeth is very good at description & she can delve very deeply into the essence of people. I do truly admire that but while I can see all of that I wish I hadn't read Olive Kitteridge. It is a sad story.

Apr 18, 2018

Wonderful characterization in this novel, which reads like a series of short stories, which explores the lives of some of the coastal town residents interwoven with a retrospective of Olive, a retired teacher as she reflects on past regrets, choices and decisions.

EscapesToBooks Nov 30, 2017

One of my favorite books of all time. Olive is complex and we come to know her from many perspectives.

robertafsmith May 02, 2017

Winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, this is a powerful rendering of a feisty, flawed but terribly human character - Olive. There are other characters - also beautifully rendered, but Olive is the lynchpin. The DVD four-part series is also outstanding.

Mar 12, 2017

Olive Kitteridge is comprised of interconnected stories that relate to the title character in some way. It is beautifully written. For the most part, the tone is wintry and bleak, but there are moments of light as well. I recommend reading the book first and then watching the excellent HBO miniseries adaptation.

Jan 22, 2017

A series of stories with one person in common - Olive Kitteridge. Sometimes she is the main character and sometimes a randomly mentioned person. The variety and stories of the various characters never fail to hold your attention. Through it all are people trying to make sense of the life they have ended up in. Completely relatable.

Dec 24, 2016

What superb writing! I seldom read a book twice but I'll read this again. At times challenging to figure out who these people are and what they have in common. Elizabeth Strout [ES]uses the format of related short stories because she envisioned the power of Olive Kitteridge [OK] as best told in an episodic manner. ES thought the reader might need a little break from OK at times as well. Sometimes I disliked Olive. I found myself in my own home at my table or in the chair laughing out loud often, other times thinking how crass and hard hearted she was, but then seeing her help people in need made me wonder. I saw qualities or thoughts in her about her son that I've had myself, this book caused me extra introspection and thoughtfulness about my own life, especially to treat loved ones with care because one never knows when they will be gone out of ones life for good .
What a treat this book has been. I enjoyed the conversation at the end between the author, Olive and RHRC [Random House Readers Circle].

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 02, 2016

The characters were interesting and real, sometimes their stories were worth a read, but in hindsight, this wasn't the most memorable novel.

Mar 22, 2016

This is such a beautifully written collection of short stories. I found our book group meeting on it extremely interesting - it had never occurred to me that anyone could hate Olive. Some of us saw her as a wretched creature who wrecked everything she touched and made everything all about her; the rest of us felt a lot more compassion and felt that she touched lives in an extraordinary way. Either way you see Olive, this book will evoke strong reactions in you. The writing is superb. I have to confess, a couple of the stories didn't do a thing for me, but the book as a whole is so stunning, I had to buy my own copy. Highly recommend.

Mar 11, 2016

I love everything this author writes. Such insight into human frailty and relationships.

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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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