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Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Olive Kitteridge (2008)

by Elizabeth Strout

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,225459652 (3.92)390
  1. 61
    Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (2810michael)
  2. 50
    Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson (gust, ainsleytewce)
    gust: Ook een verhalenbundel met terugkerende personages in de verschillende verhalen
  3. 51
    The Other Hand by Chris Cleave (sarah-e)
  4. 30
    Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri (chrisharpe)
  5. 52
    Empire Falls by Richard Russo (2810michael)
  6. 10
    The Edge of Darkness by Mary Ellen Chase (CurrerBell)
    CurrerBell: Maine regionalism can often be at its best when written as a collection of short stories, character studies, or vignettes all united around a single character, as in the case of Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge, Mary Ellen Chase's The Edge of Darkness, and Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs.… (more)
  7. 10
    Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro (ainsleytewce)
  8. 10
    A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (_debbie_)
  9. 10
    Our Town by Thornton Wilder (ainsleytewce)
  10. 10
    Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters (ainsleytewce)
  11. 10
    Moral Disorder and Other Stories by Margaret Atwood (RidgewayGirl)
    RidgewayGirl: Both tell the life story of a woman in short story form, with compassion and an unflinching eye.
  12. 10
    Tunu by Kim Leine (2810michael)
    2810michael: Mest pga opbygningen med novelleagtige kapitler, der portrætterer en by og dens personer
  13. 10
    Sweet Hereafter: A Novel by Russell Banks (jbvm)
  14. 10
    Cool Water by Dianne Warren (lkernagh, mymia)
  15. 10
    The Way to the Cats by Yehoshua Kenaz (SqueakyChu)
    SqueakyChu: another crotchety old woman - about whom it's fun to read
  16. 00
    Honeydew by Edith Pearlman (akblanchard)
    akblanchard: Short stories set in small-town New England
  17. 00
    The Man of My Dreams by Curtis Sittenfeld (thelittlematchgirl)
    thelittlematchgirl: both are stories about women some people will find unlikeable and some will want to be friends with.
  18. 00
    The Civilized World by Susi Wyss (ShortStoryLover)
    ShortStoryLover: While the settings in these books are very different, both are collections of linked stories in which the main characters are revealed through a kind of multi-faceted prism, as the reader experiences them not just through the main characters' points view but also through the points of view of the other characters.… (more)
  19. 00
    The Evening Star by Larry McMurtry (Ciruelo)
    Ciruelo: A strong willed and contrary woman is the foundation of each book.
  20. 23
    Runaway by Alice Munro (gust)

(see all 20 recommendations)


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» See also 390 mentions

English (455)  Catalan (2)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  German (1)  All languages (461)
Showing 1-5 of 455 (next | show all)
Although it is very well written - if you have known (and disliked) women like Olive (as I have) - this book is not an easy read. The author accomplishes what I thought impossible: makes you feel a bit of sympathy for an old battle-axe and see that there are some feelings underneath that unpleasant exterior. Would probably be a good book club selection, you could spend hours trying to diagnose Olive. ( )
  memccauley6 | May 3, 2016 |
superb ( )
  TheBookJunky | Apr 22, 2016 |
I think that this book is well enough known that it doesn't need much of a review. It is a novel told in a collection of short-stories, covering the adult life of Olive Kitteridge, a cantankerous, but not entirely unlovable, woman living in a small town in Maine. Watching Olive struggle with human relationships was sad, exasperating, and touching. And I loved it that the book ended with positive thoughts about aging. ( )
  banjo123 | Mar 27, 2016 |
This is really a collection of short stories about the people who live in a small coastal Maine town. Virtually all the stories mention Olive Kitteridge, and we learn a little tidbit about her in each one. Olive is a hard woman to know and even harder to like. She is quick to judge, slow to forgive. She is not really in touch with her emotions at all (but then, most everyone is town has the same flaw). You really have all the elements of life in this little town – weddings, babies, death, divorce, affairs, surly children, inattentive spouses, the vulnerable, the lonely. In some of the stories the characters wake up to their dysfunction and take action to change, but we never really learn the result.

Update: Feb 2011 - I listened to the audio book, performed by Sandra Burr. Burr is a talented voice over artist and she does a fine job. The novel has a vast cast of characters, but because it is organized as a series of short stories, the number of different voices in any one "chapter" is manageable. There are some, in particular, where her talent gives such pathos and feeling to a story it just about breaks my heart. Brava. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 14, 2016 |
I loved the characters in this book. I could associate a lot of the characters in the book with characters in my own life. So much of the book rang true. I think a lot of people who live in small towns will identify with this book. ( )
  Koren56 | Feb 4, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 455 (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 (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elizabeth Stroutprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burr, SandraNarratorsecondary 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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (3)

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
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

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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