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Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Olive Kitteridge (original 2008; edition 2008)

by Elizabeth Strout

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6,952494518 (3.92)499
Title:Olive Kitteridge
Authors:Elizabeth Strout
Info:Random House Trade Paperbacks (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (2008)

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» See also 499 mentions

English (487)  Catalan (4)  Spanish (1)  Danish (1)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  All (496)
Showing 1-5 of 487 (next | show all)
This book is very thought provoking and I found the author to be very perceptive. It seems that Strout has created a place with a lot of complex characters. I loved the Maine setting with people you could find everywhere.

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 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 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 to a deeper understanding of herself and her life;sometimes painfully, but always with ruthless honesty. Olive Kitteridge offers profound insights into the human condition; its conflicts, its tragedies and joys, and the endurance it requires.

I will look forward to reading more from Elizabeth Strout and would highly recommend this book to those who love stories that will touch your heart. ( )
  EadieB | Feb 12, 2018 |
1 vote madonetwo | Feb 10, 2018 |
This wasn't the light summer read I was hoping for instead it was rather depressing and sad. My initial impression of this book was especially bad and I almost didn't continue but thanks to a boring train ride I struggled on. But I can't claim to have regretted reading this.. it won't make my list of favourite books but I didn't end up hating it either.

I sure as hell don't understand how this got a Pulitzer though. ( )
  newcastlee | Dec 30, 2017 |
In a series of thirteen vignettes, author Elizabeth Strout sets out to illuminate a small town in coastal Maine and one of its inhabitants, a retired schoolteacher named Olive Kitteridge.

Readers are the voyeurs in Olive Kitteridge. While we peep into the lives of a piano player in a lounge, a troubled teenage girl, and Olive's own husband and son (among others), we see people dealing with all sorts of problems... and we see that Olive is-- for the most part-- considered to be a rather unpleasant and unpredictable force of nature. But as our knowledge of the people of Crosby, Maine increases so does Olive's self-awareness. The lessons she learns are sometimes painful and always ruthlessly honest.

I loved how my understanding of the characters deepened with each new chapter. Initially seen in an unflattering light, some characters changed as the light shone upon them from different angles.

This is a little gem, although I can see some readers believing that nothing ever happens in it. I found this book to be mesmerizing and to contain one brilliant character study after another. Quiet, unassuming writing can sometimes wield great power and beauty, and this is exactly what I found in the pages of Olive Kitteridge. ( )
1 vote cathyskye | Dec 19, 2017 |
Written as short stories but with the connecting arch of Olive and her husband as they grow older and encounter the challenges of life. Some of the vignettes are directly about them, some are about the other people living in their town. Good writing. Truthful looks at life at all mature stages. ( )
  LDVoorberg | Dec 3, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 487 (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 (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elizabeth Stroutprimary authorall editionscalculated
Burr, SandraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Castoldi, SilviaTranslatorsecondary 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

No descriptions found.

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.

(summary from another edition)

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