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Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout

Olive, Again (edition 2019)

by Elizabeth Strout (Author)

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304547,408 (4.5)5
Title:Olive, Again
Authors:Elizabeth Strout (Author)
Info:Random House (2019), 304 pages
Collections:2019, Netgalley, Wishlist
Tags:Maine, ageing, friendship, love, human character

Work details

Olive, Again: A Novel by Elizabeth Strout

** (1) 19OCT (1) 2019 (1) a2019 (1) aging (1) ALA 2019 (1) ARC (3) ebook (1) favorite author (1) fiction (5) FL (1) linked stories (1) literature (1) netgalley-free (1) PBS wishlist (1) sequel (1) short stories (2) signed (1) to-read (5) V (1)



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I loved Strout's Olive Kitteredge so I was delighted to receive this ARC of Olive, Again from Goodreads. At the end of the first book Olive's husband Henry has died and she has just started a tentative relationship with Jack Kennison, a former Harvard professor who has recently lost his wife. Olive, Again picks up where the first book leaves off with Jack and Olive making a very odd couple - two lost souls finding love and companionship in old age.

We follow Olive through the next 15 years as she marries and then loses Jack, as her health declines with age and finally as she ends in the Maple Tree Apartments, a senior living faacility where people live in fear of being "sent over the bridge" to the nursing home/memory care unit.

Throughout the book Olive shows us her blunt, plain-speaking manner that is always softened by the tenderness and sense of fair play that is at the core of her being. This book made me love Olive all over again. ( )
  etxgardener | Jul 19, 2019 |
About this book, Strout writes that it never occurred to her to write more stories about Olive. And yet, when a few years ago one of the stories in this collection popped out of her nearly fully formed, Strout realized, “I was not done with Olive at all. And she was not done with me.” What good news for us readers!

These linked stories pick up in Olive’s life soon after the original collection left off, and they progress linearly over the next couple of decades. In some, Olive merely pops in. In some, other characters from the original collection appear, or characters from Strout’s other collections (hello again, Burgess boys!). In many, Olive is the lead character (and with kudos to the fabulous performances in HBO’s adaptation of Olive Kitteridge, I constantly found myself picturing Frances McDormand). The stories have funny moments (particularly Olive’s over-the-top abruptness), but tend to be prickly and reflective in dealing with relationships and aging.

More than the original, this collection left me wanting even more stories. Perhaps one day, Olive will publish her memoirs?

(Review based on an advance reading copy provided by the publisher.) ( )
  DetailMuse | Jul 19, 2019 |
I read Olive Kitteridge on the recommendation of this group (the 75ers), and this sequel was for me as wonderful as sitting down with an old friend and finding that you can have the same easy conversations you did the last time you got together. If you haven't already read OK, go and do that now. Then come back, and delight in Olive remaining herself, even as she gets older, more fragile, and more dependant on others.
Highly recommended.

(A Netgalley book free in exhange for review but I think I will be buying it soon!) ( )
  charl08 | Jul 11, 2019 |
There are authors whose prose flows gracefully from one thought to the next. And there are authors whose characters live - who speak to the reader and say - Reader, this is you. And there are authors whose characters live ordinary lives that are in their way extraordinary.

Elizabeth Strout’s newest novel, ‘Olive, Again,’ is a gracefully written heart-rending masterpiece that encompasses all these qualities.

For those who have never met Olive Kitteridge, she is gauche, often wrong, and painfully outspoken. And she is Everyman. She is one of, if not the, most compelling characters in American Literature.

‘Olive, Again’ is the story of Olive’s last years in the close knit community of Crosby, Maine. Olive and the other inhabitants struggle with life in the Trump era. They’re all quirky and real - from the unhappy couple who has divided their house with yellow duct tape into ‘His’ and ‘Hers’ sections to the grandmother who finds it difficult to love her four inarticulate grandchildren.

The people of Crosby live in the moment, but that moment is often determined by the past. Even in the moments that they try to connect and understand each other they’re hampered by their own lack of self-awareness.

And that’s where Olive (and Strout) triumph. Olive remains imperfect, but she tries to connect to others. Olive will always be gauche; she will always thoughtlessly offend and she will always ask awkward prying questions, but she will also gain an Olive modicum of self-knowledge and a desire to do better.

A free reviewer's copy was provided by the publisher. ( )
1 vote dianaleez | Jul 6, 2019 |
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#1 New York Times bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout continues the life of her beloved Olive Kitteridge, a character who has captured the imaginations of millions of readers.   Prickly, wry, resistant to change yet ruthlessly honest and deeply empathetic, Olive Kitteridge is "a compelling life force" (San Francisco Chronicle). The New Yorker has said that Elizabeth Strout "animates the ordinary with an astonishing force," and she has never done so more clearly than in these pages, where the iconic Olive struggles to understand not only herself and her own life but the lives of those around her in the town of Crosby, Maine. Whether with a teenager coming to terms with the loss of her father, a young woman about to give birth during a hilariously inopportune moment, a nurse who confesses a secret high school crush, or a lawyer who struggles with an inheritance she does not want to accept, the unforgettable Olive will continue to startle us, to move us, and to inspire moments of transcendent grace. Advance praise for Olive, Again "There's no simple truth about human existence, Strout reminds us, only wonderful, painful complexity. 'Well, that's life,' Olive says. 'Nothing you can do about it.' Beautifully written and alive with compassion, at times almost unbearably poignant. A thrilling book in every way."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)… (more)

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