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Olive Kitteridge: Fiction by Strout,…

Olive Kitteridge: Fiction by Strout, Elizabeth (March 25, 2008) Hardcover

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7,845544729 (3.92)595
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.
Title:Olive Kitteridge: Fiction by Strout, Elizabeth (March 25, 2008) Hardcover
Info:Random House (no date)
Collections:Read but unowned

Work details

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

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    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)
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» See also 595 mentions

English (535)  Catalan (4)  Italian (2)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  All languages (545)
Showing 1-5 of 535 (next | show all)
3.5 stars. This book was very well written and I did like it. It was written more as a collection of short stories about the people of Crosby with Olive being a recurring character. I prefer to read novels so it was a lot harder to get into. I thought there were some wonderful characterizations and insights into life, but I came away with the thought that the book seemed a bit depressing. ( )
  slittleson | Mar 19, 2020 |
This is a very clever collection of (not very) short stories, each with a different protagonist, but in each of which Olive Kitteridge appears - sometimes as a major character, sometimes just in passing, sometimes even just as a mention. The themes are often deep and sometimes sad - humanity, relationships, loss, hope, ageing, coping - but somehow also beautiful. I'm not generally a fan of short story collections, but Strout demonstrates extraordinary skill. The writing is tight, elegant, simple yet complex. There is no purple prose here, no needless exposition. There are enough details to set a scene, to create an atmosphere, to describe a character's feelings and actions, to introduce the reader to each of the characters and to draw them all together into a whole.

I realised quite early on that this shouldn't be a one-session book, but that instead, each story should be relished. I therefore deliberately left at least a day or two after reading each one before going back to this, and indeed, the stories stand alone as well as together. I very much look forward to reading more of Strout's work. ( )
  DebsDd | Mar 19, 2020 |
Glad Nancy recommended it. "Sometimes, like now, Olive had a sense of just how desperately hard every person in the world was working to get what they needed." ( )
  Tammyhil | Mar 18, 2020 |
Book Review: “Olive Kitteridge”- Elizabeth Strout

I only had a couple pages left to read, waited all day to end this book, did not want to say goodbye to Olive, loving her & this book so very much. Strout said it best herself, from this book: “readers receive a larger understanding, or a different understanding of what it means to be human”, which is exactly what I seek in reading. Strout deals with the raw interior of our humanity which we know is true but wish we could deny ( )
  joyfulmimi | Mar 17, 2020 |
Olive Kitteridge is sarcastic, critical and angry. There isn’t a lot to like about her but I empathised about halfway through this 2009 Pulitzer prize-winning novel. And that’s one thing that makes Olive the best I have read.

There were people here I recognised, and Elizabeth Strout writes about them in powerful simple prose. We get to know Olive, a retired seventh-grade maths teacher, her saint-like husband, Henry, and their withdrawn son, Christopher, through a series of 13 stories. Tension and drama abounds: a man learns at a funeral about his wife’s infidelity, there's a hostage in a hospital and an old lover reappears rekindling painful memories.

Each chapter is a story about people who have a relationship – close or distant – to the formidable and feared Olive Kitteridge. The setting is the small town of Crosby in Maine on the United States’ east coast and because of her long teaching career, Olive knows many people.

The structure is unusual but it interrupts Olive’s story. The chapters in which Olive doesn’t play a big part are the weakest and omitting them wouldn’t have been to the detriment of the rest of the novel.

Olive has no insight into how others perceive her. She’s like a bulldozer pushing its way through life either knocking people out of the way or running them over.

Olive Kitterdige is a commentary on life, love and loss. The change in Olive as the novel evolves isn’t great but she realises she has made mistakes and becomes a little more forgiving of others. The ending was abrupt and left Olive’s future unresolved but it left the door open for the sequel Olive Again.
( )
  Neil_333 | Mar 6, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 535 (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 (6 possible)

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

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