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Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Olive Kitteridge (original 2008; edition 2008)

by Elizabeth Strout

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7,224510762 (3.92)510
Title:Olive Kitteridge
Authors:Elizabeth Strout
Info:Random House Trade Paperbacks (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (2008)

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» See also 510 mentions

English (504)  Catalan (4)  Italian (2)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  All languages (514)
Showing 1-5 of 504 (next | show all)
How did this book win a Pulitzer? This is the second book for our family book club and it is unanimously deemed bad. It reads like a collection of short stories featuring the same characters in different roles (main character, cameo). Even Olive is treated the way. I struggled with the timeline of the events and felt that the author didn't have a clear picture, either. This made me doubt some of the events, as they seemed to occur a decade or more in the past when social attitudes were more conservative but the narrative would tell me it happened a few years ago and project modern social attitudes onto them. I was frequently distracted by shifts between a character's point of view and the author's, often in successive paragraphs. I was particularly irritated with the political screed at the end of what had been an apolitical book. It felt like the author's cheap shot at a President she didn't like, not the view of the character she ascribed these beliefs to. Thankfully a quick read; definitely not the strongest book on the Pulitzer list. ( )
  skavlanj | Dec 10, 2018 |
Olive Kitteridge is a many-faceted character. We learn about her through reading the short chapters telling of the lives of her and other inhabitants of the small town of Crosby, Maine. There does seem to be an overwhelming amount of hardship among the stories of people from the town. But I hold some belief that during times of hardship people reveal the true character of both their best and worst selves. One must persevere through the sadness of the stories to learn of the true character of Olive Kitteridge. ( )
  Rdglady | Nov 20, 2018 |
Couldn't finish it. Just as you get to know someone and their problems, the author moves onto someone else with worse problems. Just as you think it is bad enough, something worse happens. I appreciate the style but after the fifth set of people with miseries I realized we will never see through any of the miseries. A bunch of unfinished stories losely connected by Olive showing up in each. It got repetitive and depressing. ( )
  Gezemice | Oct 29, 2018 |
This book is a series of independent short stories. The common thread is the title character, Olive Kitteridge, who appears or is at least mentioned in each of the stories. Olive is a complex character. She appears to be emotionless until her relationship with her son is discussed. His unwillingness to embrace her gnaws at her constantly throughout the stories. The writing of this short story novel is worthy of the Pulitzer Prize it won. ( )
  DanDiercks | Oct 26, 2018 |
Basically a series of short stories which the same character crops up in - sometimes as a main character but sometimes just in a contrived "walks past" sort of way. The short stories were nice enough but as I'm not a lover of short stories there was nothing here to really interest me so I read just over half and stopped - felt that there was no reason to really keep on reading.
  AHouseOfBooks | Oct 23, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 504 (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
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.

(summary from another edition)

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