Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Fiction

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Synopsis

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE • NOW AN HBO MINISERIES

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.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Elizabeth Strout’s The Burgess Boys.
 

About Elizabeth Strout

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Elizabeth Strout is the author of Abide with Me, a national bestseller and Book Sense pick, and Amy and Isabelle, which won the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize. She has also been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize in England. Her short stories have been published in a number of magazines, including The New Yorker and O: The Oprah Magazine. She is on the faculty of the MFA program at Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina, and lives in New York City.
 
Published March 25, 2008 by Random House. 280 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Olive Kitteridge

Kirkus Reviews

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She did not want to leave it yet.” A perfectly balanced portrait of the human condition, encompassing plenty of anger, cruelty and loss without ever losing sight of the equally powerful presences of tenderness, shared pursuits and lifelong loyalty.

Feb 01 2008 | Read Full Review of Olive Kitteridge: Fiction

The New York Times

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Elizabeth Strout’s new “novel in stories” brings to life a hardscrabble community on the coast of Maine, a quintessentially New England town where people serve baked beans and ketchup when company comes and speak in familiar Down East accents (“ay-yuh”).

Apr 20 2008 | Read Full Review of Olive Kitteridge: Fiction

Publishers Weekly

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Thirteen linked tales from Strout (Abide with Me , etc.) present a heart-wrenching, penetrating portrait of ordinary coastal Mainers living lives of quiet grief i

Dec 10 2007 | Read Full Review of Olive Kitteridge: Fiction

Publishers Weekly

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Strout's tale of an aging schoolteacher too obsessed with the deterioration of her little town of Crosby, Maine, to realize the problems plaguing her own life, is read with vigor by Sandra Burr.

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BC Books

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A young doctor gradually unravels the mystery of her grandfather's death through stories of magical legend.

Apr 01 2012 | Read Full Review of Olive Kitteridge: Fiction

BC Books

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I dove to the bottom of my mountain of review books and found Elizabeth Strout's novel, Olive Kitteridge.

May 18 2010 | Read Full Review of Olive Kitteridge: Fiction

Book Reporter

Olive finds herself seen (although she hadn't known she was invisible before) by a stranger who becomes a schoolteacher friend and then a platonic love interest of her own, a married man with six children who eventually drives off the road into a tree, possibly drunk but having made it clear to O...

Jan 13 2011 | Read Full Review of Olive Kitteridge: Fiction

Entertainment Weekly

When Henry wants to invite Denise, his young employee, for dinner, Olive tells him, ''Not keen on it.'' But when he does so anyway — he has a crush on her — the tenuousness of their marriage surfaces in this exchange: ''For dessert they were each handed a blue bowl with a scoop of vanilla ice cre...

Mar 25 2008 | Read Full Review of Olive Kitteridge: Fiction

USA Today

In several tales, Olive is at the periphery, and other memorable characters steal the spotlight.So Olive Kitteridge is also a portrait of a town and its people, of straying husbands and the wives who forgive them;

Apr 30 2009 | Read Full Review of Olive Kitteridge: Fiction

San Francisco Chronicle

I can't help but wonder if the "biz" is responsible for the hybrid "linked story collections" or "novel in stories" that has become popular in recent years.

Apr 09 2008 | Read Full Review of Olive Kitteridge: Fiction

Review (Barnes & Noble)

It's a bold move by Strout -- to make us push away from Olive from the start -- and to the author's credit, she makes it her book-long task to bring us back to Olive, so that by the last story we feel sympathy, if not love, for this flawed character.

Apr 07 2008 | Read Full Review of Olive Kitteridge: Fiction

About.com Bestsellers

Taken together, it is clear why this book won Elizabeth Strout the Pulitzer Prize.ProsWell written, but not a difficult read.Strout produces empathy for characters and situations that are usually judged harshly.Each story is good on its own, but all together the book is very satisfying.ConsThe ov...

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MostlyFiction Book Reviews

The story spans an undisclosed period of years whereby Olive looses Henry, Christopher disappoints and moves away, and Olive is left alone in the village, surrounded by odd characters and old students, neighbors and enemies and a very small handful of friends.

Jan 19 2010 | Read Full Review of Olive Kitteridge: Fiction

Bookmarks Magazine

Have you ever met anyone like Olive Kitteridge, and if so, what similarities do you see between that person and Olive?

Apr 10 2008 | Read Full Review of Olive Kitteridge: Fiction

Reader Rating for Olive Kitteridge
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Julia Thomas 22 Apr 2013

Rated the book as 5 out of 5

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Patrick Priore 3 May 2013

Rated the book as 5 out of 5

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