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Olive, Again: A Novel by Elizabeth Strout
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Olive, Again: A Novel

by Elizabeth Strout

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13415138,257 (4.14)17
#1 New York Times bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout continues the life of her beloved Olive Kitteridge, a character who has captured the imaginations of millions of readers.   Prickly, wry, resistant to change yet ruthlessly honest and deeply empathetic, Olive Kitteridge is "a compelling life force" (San Francisco Chronicle). The New Yorker has said that Elizabeth Strout "animates the ordinary with an astonishing force," and she has never done so more clearly than in these pages, where the iconic Olive struggles to understand not only herself and her own life but the lives of those around her in the town of Crosby, Maine. Whether with a teenager coming to terms with the loss of her father, a young woman about to give birth during a hilariously inopportune moment, a nurse who confesses a secret high school crush, or a lawyer who struggles with an inheritance she does not want to accept, the unforgettable Olive will continue to startle us, to move us, and to inspire moments of transcendent grace. Advance praise for Olive, Again "There's no simple truth about human existence, Strout reminds us, only wonderful, painful complexity. 'Well, that's life,' Olive says. 'Nothing you can do about it.' Beautifully written and alive with compassion, at times almost unbearably poignant. A thrilling book in every way."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
A few years back, my friend Michael was pimping a book, Olive Kitteridge as being pretty awesome. It was a bit surprising to me, in that Michael, despite being an English teacher, tends to read mostly super-hero books and some non-fiction things about spirituality. His idea of cruel and unusual punishment would be being forced to read Jane Austen.

Anyway, I was intrigued by his thoughts and got a copy. I must say, I rather loved Olive Kitteridge. So, I was thrilled to be able to snag a pre-publication of the “sequel” just before vacation. Olive Kitteridge lives in Maine, so part of the point of my reading the book was to get me in the mood for spending several weeks in Maine. For once, I didn't have to re-read Sarah Orne Jewett.

In some ways, this book was even better for me than just the Maine slant. Olive, it seems, has become a bit “mature”, so we have “maturity” issues as well as Maine issues, and, of course, issues of a somewhat rigid and opinionated woman. I know all about “maturity”, rigidity, and being opinionated.

This book is much like the first one in the way it’s laid out. It’s essentially a series of short stories dealing with a number of people and their issues. In some stories, Olive is a major character, in others, she has a cameo role. There is some movement of sorts in that over the course of the book, Olive ages some dozen years, and finds herself at the end of the book living in an assisted living place. I suppose that’s in store for me in the next few years as well. I hope I can have the good grace to make the transition as did Olive, although, Olive being Olive, she did make it somewhat difficult for a time.

The interesting thing about Olive is that she thinks she knows all the answers, and isn't shy about telling other people so. But, by the end of this book, Olive has learned that people are different. Her personal point of view is not the only one that is valid. Her final journal entry says it all: I do not have a clue who I have been. Truthfully, I do not understand a thing.

I'm beginning to understand something similar. This is a very GoodRead, while learning about Olive, we also begin to learn about ourselves. ( )
  lgpiper | Oct 19, 2019 |
Juddering, stuttering, along goes Olive, brutally honest and often off putting. Person to person, vignette to vignette, the theme of whether a life has been honestly lived repeats. So many imperfect people with ordinary problems which dwarf their ability to bear their burdens gracefully or any other way. The exploration of loneliness and the lack of answers, well isn’t that what life is about?

Olive Kitteridge attempts to teach life’s lesson of knowing who you are, listening to yourself and never forgetting who you are. Knowing you can love deeply and also knowing that it can be temporary. Knowing that all love should be taken seriously and then admitting that she has no clue who she has been and that she doesn’t understand a thing. Isn’t that what life is about?

Thank you NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group for a copy ( )
  kimkimkim | Oct 18, 2019 |
An older and wiser, Olive. Yes, somewhat but she is still outspoken, firm in her likes and dislikes, but more tactful and empathetic. Looking back she admits to mistakes she has made. Linked episodes, that is the description i would use describing this book. The people of Crosby, Maine, like all towns, are going through their individual crises and Olive flute in and out through their lives, sometimes with just a glancing blow. Some episodes are all Olive, catching us up on her life since her last staring role, in the last book.

Stout, takes the many incidents and foibles, the ordinary things that make up a day,and makes them interesting. As a reader one can relate to some of these occurrences, realizing these are the things that make up our lives. Childbearing, marriage, loneliness, friendship, health issues and aging. Yes, it's all here and plenty more. Life, in all its Glory and ugliness is what is on these pages, and Strout does them justice.

ARC from Random House. ( )
  Beamis12 | Sep 23, 2019 |
If you've read Olive Kitteridge, you'll be immediately familiar with the structure of Olive, Again; individual chapters that read like stand-alone short stories, but which build into a deep character study of a single woman. Olive is older. She's a widow who has a tense relationship with her son and his family, whom she rarely sees. After her last visit to see them, they have not invited her to return and if you've read Olive Kitteridge, you'll know why. As Olive figures out how to live life alone, she interacts with the folks of Crosby, Maine and the surrounding towns, she learns both how to be lonely and how to let people into her life. It's a lovely story, and Elizabeth Strout's love for her out-spoken and prickly creation is evident.

While this can be read on it's own, why would you deny yourself the pleasure of following Olive from the beginning? There are some surprises in this sequel, but it's written in the same quiet, unvarnished way as the first book. ( )
  RidgewayGirl | Sep 22, 2019 |
Strout has an ability to capture small town life, in Maine in particular, that is both endearing and haunting. Returning to Olive Kitteridge, we are quickly reminded about her crusty yet somehow sweet persona, which has mellowed a bit as she has aged but still erupts with her tendency to speak her mind. As with the earlier novel, each chapter is a self-contained short story, some with only a brief mention of Olive. The well-rounded portrait of both the characters and the community is greater than the sum of the parts, and leaves a lasting impression. For this Maine reader, the authentic local touches just added to my interest--I haven't thought about Cottles for years!--and avoided the condescending "quaintness" of many regional works. ( )
  sleahey | Sep 20, 2019 |
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For Zarina,
again
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In the early afternoon on a Saturday in June, Jack Kennison put on his sunglasses, got into his sports car with the top down, strapped the seatbelt over his shoulder and across his large stomach, and drove to Portland---almost an hour away---to buy a gallon of whiskey rather than bump into Olive Kitteridge at the grocery store here in Crosby, Maine.
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So there was this, too: her son had married his mother, as so many men—in some form or other—eventually do.
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