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Olive Kitteridge

by Elizabeth Strout

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Olive Kitteridge (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,990551738 (3.92)604
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. 91
    Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (2810michael)
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    A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (_debbie_)
  3. 70
    Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson (gust, ainsleytewce)
    gust: Ook een verhalenbundel met terugkerende personages in de verschillende verhalen
  4. 72
    Empire Falls by Richard Russo (2810michael)
  5. 50
    Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri (chrisharpe)
  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. 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)
  10. 10
    Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters (ainsleytewce)
  11. 10
    Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (sturlington)
  12. 10
    Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro (ainsleytewce)
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    2810michael: Mest pga opbygningen med novelleagtige kapitler, der portrætterer en by og dens personer
  14. 10
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  15. 10
    The Way to the Cats by Yehoshua Kenaz (SqueakyChu)
    SqueakyChu: another crotchety old woman - about whom it's fun to read
  16. 10
    A Reckless Moon by Dianne Warren (lkernagh, mymia)
  17. 10
    Plainsong by Kent Haruf (aprille)
  18. 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.
  19. 10
    The Evening Star by Larry McMurtry (Ciruelo)
    Ciruelo: A strong willed and contrary woman is the foundation of each book.
  20. 00
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    sturlington: Two Pulitzer Prize winners set in Maine

(see all 24 recommendations)

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» See also 604 mentions

English (542)  Catalan (4)  Italian (2)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  All languages (552)
Showing 1-5 of 542 (next | show all)
3
  kristi_test_02 | Jun 16, 2020 |
best book I have read in a long time ( )
  KarynB | May 20, 2020 |
Remarkable. I was taken in..and normally do not like novels of this ilk. Remarkable subtlety of writing remarkable turns of phrases. Olive is a unaware woman who makes her son crazy. But you want to hear about what she is thinking. Wow ( )
  leebill | Apr 30, 2020 |
This book of 13 short stories about Olive Kitteridge, her family, friends and neighbours in the little town of Crosby, Maine certainly hit a lot of vulnerabilities with me. Olive is about the same age as me, and seeing her steps and missteps as she enters her senior years reminded me of some of the pitfalls that I have run into. As we read through the stories we see how Olive learns (a lot of times, the hard way) how to come to terms with herself, her marriage, her son and her neighbours. Olive used to be a junior high school math teacher, and has always had an acerbic tongue and has always spoken her mind. Many times, her husband Henry has told her to think before she speaks. Henry is a lovely foil for Olive's peppery temper. He's easy-going, friendly, non-judgemental and he loves Olive. After Henry has a massive stroke, Olive realizes how much she should have appreciated him. Elizabeth Strout has drawn some beautiful characters in this book. The short story format seemed odd to me at first as a way to introduce a character, but, in this case, it worked beautifully. The progression of Olive's coming to terms with herself is easily followed from story to story. Whenever I read a short story collection I like to pick a favourite, and, in this case, that decision was not a difficult one. I loved the story "Tulips". In it Olive meets one of her neighbours that she hasn't had much to do with, and who has had a very catastrophic event happen in her family year ago. Olive is still reeling from Henry's stroke and his removal to a nursing home, and she tries to reach out to Louise in order to thank her for sending a sympathy note. What she finds in that house is shocking and horrifying. In her own roundabout way Olive realizes that there may be some of the same difficulties in her own particular journey into senior life. The stories in this book are thought-provoking and illuminating. Sometimes it is uncomfortable to read them, but every story has a purpose and a meaning behind it, and every story is a revelation to the reeling Olive. This is a well-deserved Pulitzer Prize winner. I think I'm going to have to read "Olive Again" now. ( )
  Romonko | Apr 26, 2020 |
Olive Kitteridge is cantankerous, curmudgeonly and critical, but keep reading, she's also at times kind and caring. This is a beautifully written book about life is small town America and the colorful people who reside there.
Each chapter is like a short story unto itself yet is connected by the one and only Olive Kitteridge.
I think this book is similar to The Plainsong series and Our Souls at Night all written by Kent Haruf's. If you enjoyed those, you will enjoy this too. ( )
  Carmenere | Apr 10, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 542 (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 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"
Last words
(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.

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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