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Olive, Again

by Elizabeth Strout

Series: Olive Kitteridge (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,2049311,927 (4.26)146
"Funny, wicked and remorseful, Mrs. Kitteridge is a compelling life force, a red blooded original. When she's not onstage, we look forward to her return..."* And now, indeed, Olive Kitteridge has returned, as indomitable as ever. "It turns out--I just wasn't done with Olive," said Strout. "It was like she kept poking me in the ribs, so I finally said 'Okay, okay...'" Now Olive returns, this time as a person getting older, navigating her next decade as she comes to terms with the changes--sometimes welcome, sometimes not--in her own life. Here is Olive, strangely content in her second marriage, still in an evolving relationship with her son and his family, encountering a cast of memorable characters in the seaside town of Crosby, Maine. Whether it's a young girl coming to terms with the loss of her father, a young woman about to give birth at a baby shower, or a nurse who confesses a secret high school crush, the irascible Olive improbably touches the lives of others. Elizabeth Strout has achieved greatness by brilliantly laying bare the inner lives of ordinary people, by focusing on the small moments of connection which can dislodge lifelong grief and longing, and unite her characters through moments of transcendent grace. Olive, Again is another lasting work of fiction by this remarkable writer, and a cause for celebration among readers everywhere.… (more)
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English (90)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  All languages (93)
Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
Olive is back again, irascible and abrasive, but this novel-in-short-stories shows her as she ages. Perhaps some of the rough edges have been worn down. Her brutally honest approach is just what a dying woman needs as Olive visits her when others shy away, but Olive is brutally honest with herself as well, acknowledging her loneliness and fear. In the end, her relationship with her son improves, and she makes a good friend in her new home in an assisted-living facility. The book does not end with her death but with her looking forward to seeing that friend again. ( )
  NMBookClub | Apr 20, 2021 |
A fantastic follow-up to Olive Kitteridge, this is the same kind of format of linked short stories. Olive continues to be quite objectionable, while also reflecting back on her life a bit as she grows older. I think Elizabeth Strout is an excellent writer, able to conjure up really precise portraits of her characters in very few words. ( )
  AlisonSakai | Apr 3, 2021 |
Oh Godfrey, it's that Olive, Again
Review of the Random House Audio edition (2019) released simultaneously with the Random House hardcover

I listened to the audiobook edition of Olive, Again, Strout's sequel to her first Olive novel-in-short-stories Olive Kitteridge and which takes the same short story format as its predecessor. The new book centres around Olive's relationship with her 2nd husband Jack, her relationship with her grown son Christopher and his family, other residents of Crosby, Maine and Olive's aging and senior health issues. It was as excellent as the first book.

The narration by Kimberly Farr was well done in all voices. Farr also narrated the audiobook edition of the original Olive Kitteridge

Trivia and Link
There are as yet no signs of a follow-up TV miniseries for this 2nd book to carry on from the original HBO miniseries for Olive Kitteridge (2014) dir. Lisa Cholodenko. Frances McDormand's future projects (as of Feb. 2021) do show a planned film adaptation of Miriam Toews' Women Talking (2018) to be directed by Sarah Polley. ( )
  alanteder | Feb 26, 2021 |
"But it was almost over, after all, her life. It swelled behind her like a sardine fishing net, all sorts of useless seaweed and broken bits of shells and the tiny shining fish...."

I was a fan of Olive Kitteredge, and in this one, we explore Olive's old age, and all the indignities that entails. Similarly to the first Olive, the book is structured as a series of interconnected vignettes/stories, many featuring Olive, but a fair number focusing on other residents of the town of Crosby, Maine where Olive resides. In these stories, Olive sometimes makes a brief, peripheral appearance, and sometimes even in these peripheral stories we learn things that advance our knowledge of Olive. I came down on the side of categorizing Olive Kitteredge as a novel, and I felt it made a cohesive whole. I am much less certain that's the case here, and I sometimes perceived the extraneous stories as interrupting a novel about Olive. Even so, I enjoyed reading them, and would recommend the book. And note, if you've read anything else by Elizabeth Strout characters from some of her other books make appearances here, including Isabelle from Amy and Isabelle and the Burgess siblings from The Burgess Boys.

And at the end, Olive typed: "I do not have a clue who I have been. Truthfully, I do not understand a thing."

3 1/2 stars ( )
  arubabookwoman | Jan 31, 2021 |
Brilliant, as usual ( )
  Faradaydon | Jan 19, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
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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.
Quotations
So there was this, too: her son had married his mother, as so many men—in some form or other—eventually do.
Kayley could actually feel a small wave of pain go through her chest at times, and she would think: This is why they say a person's feelings are hurt, because they do hurt.
And it came to him then that it should never be taken lightly, the essential loneliness of people, that the choices they made to keep themselves from that gaping darkness were choices that required respect:
Maybe you fall in love with people who save your life, even when you think it's not worth saving.
I do not have a clue who I have been. Truthfully, I do not understand a thing.
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"Funny, wicked and remorseful, Mrs. Kitteridge is a compelling life force, a red blooded original. When she's not onstage, we look forward to her return..."* And now, indeed, Olive Kitteridge has returned, as indomitable as ever. "It turns out--I just wasn't done with Olive," said Strout. "It was like she kept poking me in the ribs, so I finally said 'Okay, okay...'" Now Olive returns, this time as a person getting older, navigating her next decade as she comes to terms with the changes--sometimes welcome, sometimes not--in her own life. Here is Olive, strangely content in her second marriage, still in an evolving relationship with her son and his family, encountering a cast of memorable characters in the seaside town of Crosby, Maine. Whether it's a young girl coming to terms with the loss of her father, a young woman about to give birth at a baby shower, or a nurse who confesses a secret high school crush, the irascible Olive improbably touches the lives of others. Elizabeth Strout has achieved greatness by brilliantly laying bare the inner lives of ordinary people, by focusing on the small moments of connection which can dislodge lifelong grief and longing, and unite her characters through moments of transcendent grace. Olive, Again is another lasting work of fiction by this remarkable writer, and a cause for celebration among readers everywhere.

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