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Olive Kitteridge

by Elizabeth Strout

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Olive Kitteridge (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,687606748 (3.92)736
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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    gust: Ook een verhalenbundel met terugkerende personages in de verschillende verhalen
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  9. 20
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  10. 10
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  13. 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)
  14. 10
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    2810michael: Mest pga opbygningen med novelleagtige kapitler, der portrætterer en by og dens personer
  15. 10
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    thelittlematchgirl: both are stories about women some people will find unlikeable and some will want to be friends with.
  16. 10
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    SqueakyChu: another crotchety old woman - about whom it's fun to read
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  18. 10
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  19. 00
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    sturlington: Two Pulitzer Prize winners set in Maine
  20. 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)

(see all 23 recommendations)

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» See also 736 mentions

English (599)  Catalan (4)  Dutch (3)  Italian (2)  German (1)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (611)
Showing 1-5 of 599 (next | show all)
The stories in this book portray people where they are. Authentic, even when they are being dishonest with themselves and each other. Prose is very nice, characters rich and interesting, even if not always particularly likable. Complex dichotomy of how we see ourselves vs. how others see us. Some of the stories dragged a bit, hence the four stars. One can see oneself and one's neighbors in the these characters, and the stories elicit compassion for all of struggling with the human condition. Olive is a character who struggles with how to love and be loved, yet is a woman of strong feelings and deep wounds. ( )
  TheGalaxyGirl | Sep 14, 2023 |
I can't even rate this book - how did it ever win a Pulitzer? What am I missing that makes this novel so acclaimed!
1 vote schoenbc70 | Sep 2, 2023 |
Many, many years ago I had a wonderful office-friend, Judith Carson, with whom I rode to work everyday. One time she shared that, sitting at a stoplight or some place similar, she'd marvel that all the people around her had their own lives - their own troubles and joys - that she knew absolutely nothing about and yet were everything to them. I think Judith would love this book.

This is not a read-in-one-sitting book, it's better savored a chapter (a story) or so each day. Rather than a linear narrative, it's a portrait of a town by way of small stories threaded though and around the titular character.

Elizabeth Strout's gift for deep-diving into character is just that, a gift. And I am so glad she shares it with us.

Owned (Gottwals)
* a keeper *
Paperback ( )
  Kim.Sasso | Aug 27, 2023 |
Originally published in 2008 and set in small town Crosby, Maine. Frances McDormand, one of my most favorite actresses, plays Olive Kitteridge in the HBO miniseries, which I have not seen and may not ever get to see because we do not support HBO.
I love Olive Kitteridge! She reminds me of me. But, Olive is not the most lovable person. She's just bold and out-spoken, which hits people the wrong way sometimes.

At 50 (I'm 55) she's in bed with her husband, Henry, who tries to make the move on her, much like my husband, and she just said, "Henry, I'm done with all that!" (YES! By God, women everywhere are just totally exhausted, including me.) Olive and Henry are just going through the motions of life. They feel like they got one foot in the grave. Their son is always annoyed by her, although Henry is not much of a problem, and he doesn't like being around her. They are old. They talk about things he doesn't give a crap about. Their son constantly gives them the proverbial eyerolls. Olive's feelings are easily hurt, so she fights back with a hard outter front.

Now, Henry has a stroke and is in the nursing home for a few years, then finally dies. She's very lonely but portrays it as anger. She's angry at her son for not calling her. She's angry at her new friend, Tom Kennison, a widow who she has befriended on daily 6 mile walks, which is the only thing she enjoys these days, who stopped calling her after she got pissed when she found out he was a Republican. It took her to make the phone call and "check on him" for their friendship to be rekindled. He was just as lonely. They actually needed each other at this point in life. At age 77, she was feeling even a little sexual with Tom, but very guilty because she had denied sex to Henry, who truly did love her faults and all, for the last 20 years of their marriage and until death. But, the last thing she wants to do is get married to Tom, who probably only wants someone to take care of him and clean his house. Yet, deep inside, it seems she kind of needs someone to take care of, and Tom seems to really need and cares about her too.

Now onto PART 2: "Olive, Again"...when it becomes available again through one of the two used bookstores I shop. I let it slip through my fingers, thinking I wasn't going to enjoy the first story enough to want to read Part 2. ( )
  MissysBookshelf | Aug 27, 2023 |
Terrific book, but I wonder why there were all the references to panty hose on an aging, very overweight protagonist - and why did she insist on wearing them even without shoes, while walking on concrete?! But, this is a wonderful treatment of (us) human beings. ( )
  RickGeissal | Aug 16, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 599 (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.
Olive Kitteridge might be described by some as a battle axe or as brilliantly pushy, by others as the kindest person they had ever met. Olive herself has always been certain that she is 100% correct about everything - although, lately, her certitude has been shaken. This indomitable character appears at the centre of these narratives that comprise Olive Kitteridge. In each of them, we watch Olive, a retired schoolteacher, as she struggles to make sense of the changes in her life and the lives of those around her always with brutal honesty, if sometimes painfully. Olive will make you laugh, nod in recognition, as well as wince in pain or shed a tear or two. We meet her stoic husband, bound to her in a marriage both broken and strong, and her own son, tyrannised by Olive's overbearing sensitivities. The reader comes away, amazed by this author's ability to conjure this formidable heroine and her deep humanity that infiltrates every page.

» 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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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 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"
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(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.

Incoming Tide
The Piano Player
A Little Burst
A Different Road
Winter Concert
Basket of Trips
Ship in a Bottle
Haiku summary

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