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Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Olive Kitteridge (2008)

by Elizabeth Strout

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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6,873491532 (3.92)491
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» See also 491 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 484 (next | show all)
Written as short stories but with the connecting arch of Olive and her husband as they grow older and encounter the challenges of life. Some of the vignettes are directly about them, some are about the other people living in their town. Good writing. Truthful looks at life at all mature stages. ( )
  LDVoorberg | Dec 3, 2017 |
This is a sensational book about very real, convincingly flawed characters. I found it more of a collection of stories than a novel, because althoug Olive is always in view, she is sometimes just a background passer-by as we train the binoculars onto other characters who are having a moment of high-resolution in the foreground. This works really well, though I confess that I was left wanting to know more about many of these characters who then went out of the visual field and never walked past again. I want to know what happened to them! However, I admit thatw anting to read more about the characters and their situations means that the book has really succeeded, really engaged me.
Olive is very interesting, and although I often felt for her, I'm not sure that I like her - mind you, I don't think she's as flawed as some of the other characters believe. I liked some of the others better (eg her husband Henry). But I love the way that multiple perspectives are introduced and elegantly dealt with. It's a clever, intriguing novel that provides many satisfactory moments, and much to think about. Highly recommended! ( )
  ClareRhoden | Nov 4, 2017 |
Despite all the praise I went into the collection of 13 stories that comprise this book with some trepidation. I didn't think I could like what sounded like a book about a cranky old lady. Well, there is that in there, but this turned out to be one of the best short story collections that I have read in years. Olive Kitteridge is without a doubt a memorable character, but many of these stories only touch on her briefly - they are about other people in her town who may have brief interactions with Olive. There is some really sad stuff in here, but the stories are so diverse and so well written I am left with a very satisfied feeling and I'm very glad I read this. I do wish we had a bit more of Olive earlier in life. It felt like we fast forwarded a bit too quickly and only see glimpses of earlier Olive via character memories of her (usually pretty unflattering). ( )
  RBeffa | Sep 8, 2017 |
Idea buona, premiata con un Pulitzer, ok, ma io faccio parte di quelli che si aspettavano di più e che sono rimasti delusi.
La polifonia che doveva risultare dal frazionamento del romanzo in racconti le è riuscita stonata. Olive è il perno, allora perché non ha ancora più spazio? In certi racconti il suo ruolo è marginale, in certi altri nemmeno compare...
Se ho portato a termine la lettura lo devo esclusivamente alla simpatia per l'antipatica Olive (un merito della Strout, dopo tutto) e alla mia curiosità per la tematica 'terza età' in letteratura.
Quasi 'regretful' in definitiva, ma concordo con chi dice che si riscatta nel finale (dove Olive è al centro). ( )
  downisthenewup | Aug 17, 2017 |
Too depressing and disjointed for my tastes. ( )
1 vote leslie.98 | Aug 12, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 484 (next | show all)
Each of the 13 tales serves as an individual microcosm of small-town life, with its gossip, small kindnesses, and everyday tragedies. Not all the minor characters stand out the way Henry and Olive do, and there are a pile of them to keep straight by the end. I also couldn’t quite place how one story, “Ship in a Bottle,” meshed with the rest. But those are small flaws far outweighed by the book’s compassion and intelligence.
The pleasure in reading “Olive Kitteridge” comes from an intense identification with complicated, not always admirable, characters. And there are moments in which slipping into a character’s viewpoint seems to involve the revelation of an emotion more powerful and interesting than simple fellow feeling—a complex, sometimes dark, sometimes life-sustaining dependency on others.

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elizabeth Stroutprimary authorall editionscalculated
Burr, SandraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Castoldi, SilviaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my mother who can make life magical and is the best storyteller I know.
First words
For many years Henry Kitteridge was a pharmacist in the next town over, driving every morning on snowy roads, or rainy roads, or summertime roads, when the wild raspberries shot their new growth in brambles along the last section of town before he turned off to where the wider road led to the pharmacy.
Olive had sat in her bedroom and wept like a baby, not so much for this country but for the city itself, which had seemed to her to become suddenly no longer a foreign, hardened place, but as fragile as a class of kindergarten children, brave in their terror.
She showed him the library built the year before Henry's stroke, with its cathedral ceilng and skylights. He looked at the books, and she wanted to say, "Stop that," as though he were reading her diary.
Who, who, does not have their basket of trips.
He wanted to put his arms around her, but she had a darkness that seemed to stand beside her like an acquaintance that would not go away. - "Pharmacy"
Angie... felt she had figured something out too late, and that must be the way of life, to get something figured out when it was too late. - "The Piano Player"
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
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 of Crosby, Maine, 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 her husband 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 into a deeper understanding of herself and her life - sometimes painfully, but always with ruthless honesty.

Incoming Tide
The Piano Player
A Little Burst
A Different Road
Winter Concert
Basket of Trips
Ship in a Bottle
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At the edge of the continent, in the small town of Crosby, Maine, lives Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher who deplores the changes in her town and in the world at large but doesn't always recognize the changes in those around her.

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