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Olive Kitteridge

by Elizabeth Strout

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Olive Kitteridge (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8,463568718 (3.92)644
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.
  1. 101
    Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (2810michael)
  2. 80
    Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson (gust, ainsleytewce)
    gust: Ook een verhalenbundel met terugkerende personages in de verschillende verhalen
  3. 70
    A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (_debbie_)
  4. 50
    Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri (chrisharpe)
  5. 72
    Empire Falls by Richard Russo (2810michael)
  6. 62
    The Other Hand by Chris Cleave (sarah-e)
  7. 30
    Our Town by Thornton Wilder (ainsleytewce)
  8. 20
    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.
  9. 20
    Plainsong by Kent Haruf (aprille)
  10. 10
    Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro (ainsleytewce)
  11. 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)
  12. 10
    Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters (ainsleytewce)
  13. 10
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  14. 10
    Tunu by Kim Leine (2810michael)
    2810michael: Mest pga opbygningen med novelleagtige kapitler, der portrætterer en by og dens personer
  15. 10
    The Sweet Hereafter by Russell Banks (jbvm)
  16. 10
    A Reckless Moon by Dianne Warren (lkernagh, mymia)
  17. 10
    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. 10
    The Evening Star by Larry McMurtry (Ciruelo)
    Ciruelo: A strong willed and contrary woman is the foundation of each book.
  19. 10
    The Way to the Cats: A Novel by Yehoshua Kenaz (SqueakyChu)
    SqueakyChu: another crotchety old woman - about whom it's fun to read
  20. 00
    Tinkers by Paul Harding (sturlington)
    sturlington: Two Pulitzer Prize winners set in Maine

(see all 24 recommendations)

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» See also 644 mentions

English (559)  Catalan (4)  Italian (2)  Dutch (2)  Danish (1)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (570)
Showing 1-5 of 559 (next | show all)
For many years Henry Kitteridge was a pharmacist in the next town over, driving every morning on snowy 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.
Retired now, he still wakes early and remembers how mornings used to be his favorite, as though the world were his secret, tires rumbling softly beneath him , and the light emerging through the early fog, the brief sight of the bay off to his right, then the pines, tall and slender, and almost always he rode with the window partly open because he loved the smell of the pines and the heavy salt air, and in the winter he loved the smell of the cold.
  taurus27 | May 24, 2021 |
I had the title of this book written down on a list of books I wanted to read, and for the life of me I can’t remember why I’d listed it. But it popped up for 99p on Kindle, I remembered the title, and my finger went straight to the “buy now” button. And having now read it, I still can’t remember why it was on that list. It won the Pulitzer Prize, but I’ve never read a book simply because it won that prize – although I’ve read books that have won it. Olive Kitteridge reminds me a great deal of Marilynne Robinson’s fiction – and I’m a huge fan of her novels; signed first editions only sort of fan – but it doesn’t have the warmth and easy domesticity of her prose. It’s set in small town USA, a foreign country of not much interest to me, north or south, and any familiarity I might have with that world, in broad stroke, is down to a shared language only and the vigorously exported parts of a culture that has pretty much inundated the rest of the Anglophone sphere. The novel is about the eponymous woman. It’s part of a fictional universe built up over several works – in this case, all contained in this “novel”, and a later novel published in 2019. Olive Kitteridge is actually a collection of linked stories, in which the title character appears, either as the PoV character or in a supporting role. She was a maths teacher at the local school, but is retired at the time the novel opens. The comparison to Robinson is not entirely unfair – both writers detail a small community in their fiction, telling the stories of several interlinked families. The Wikipedia page for Olive Kitteridge boasts a complete cast of characters from the book – that’s eight families, and half a dozen assorted other groups. Strout manages to make her characters believable – although one or two seem to be defined solely by a couple of traits – despite the fact most of them only appear for a handful of pages. Much as I enjoyed the Olive Kitteridge, I doubt I’ll bother with the sequel. ( )
1 vote iansales | Apr 15, 2021 |
This was a reading group book and I didn't think I'd like it as it is a book I would never voluntarily pick up. So to my surprise I did enjoy it quite a lot. I listened to the audio although I did have to speed up the reader a lot as it was far too slow. I thought it was quite disjointed at times but then the appendix explains that as they were all short stories originally and published at different times. Some stories I liked more than others and they were usually the ones more focused on Olive herself rather than those where she is just the hook to hang the story on. I aslo was slightly frustrated at times that we did not find out what happened later e.g the suicidal man, the airport arrest. But it was far more enjoyable than I expected. ( )
  infjsarah | Feb 20, 2021 |
The characters and their situations felt very authentic to me. Olive herself was not an easy character to like, but she was complicated and the author did a great job having the reader see her as she is and appreciating her for it. It was a great look at small town life as well as aging and how it can affect people. It was a great book that I would recommend to others. ( )
  Cora-R | Feb 9, 2021 |
Each chapter is a short story that includes Olive as a main or supporting character. It's a great format if (like I do) you like to read a chapter in the coffee shop or before bed and then put a book down, satisfied. I warmed up to Olive as each chapter revealed another aspect of her character and her effect on the people in her community. I'm in the stage of life where a lot of it—with its passions and disappointments—is behind me, and that may be one reason I found this book so appealing. ( )
  Linda_Louise | Jan 20, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 559 (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 (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Strout, Elizabethprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Blanchette, Dana LeighCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burr, SandraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Castoldi, SilviaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Farr, KimberlyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stjernfeldt, Agnes DorphTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Versluys, Marijkesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
Dedication
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.
Quotations
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 ceiling 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"
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

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.

No library descriptions found.

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.

Stories:
Pharmacy
Incoming Tide
The Piano Player
A Little Burst
Starving
A Different Road
Winter Concert
Tulips
Basket of Trips
Ship in a Bottle
Security
Criminal
River
Haiku summary

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