Olive Kitteridge

Olive Kitteridge

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WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE - THE EMMY AWARD-WINNING HBO MINISERIES STARRING FRANCES MCDORMAND, RICHARD JENKINS, AND BILL MURRAY In a voice more powerful and compassionate than ever before, New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Strout binds together thirteen rich, luminous narratives into a book with the heft of a novel, through the presence of one larger-than-life, unforgettable character: Olive Kitteridge. At the edge of the continent, Crosby, Maine, may seem like nowhere, but seen through this brilliant writer's eyes, it's in essence the whole world, and the lives that are lived there are filled with all of the grand human drama-desire, despair, jealousy, hope, and love. 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. NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY People - USA Today - The Atlantic - The Washington Post Book World - Seattle Post-Intelligencer - Entertainment Weekly - The Christian Science Monitor - San Francisco Chronicle - Salon - San Antonio Express-News - Chicago Tribune - The Wall Street Journal "Perceptive, deeply empathetic . . . Olive is the axis around which these thirteen complex, relentlessly human narratives spin themselves into Elizabeth Strout's unforgettable novel in stories."--O: The Oprah Magazine "Fiction lovers, remember this name: Olive Kitteridge. . . . You'll never forget her. . . . [Elizabeth Strout] constructs her stories with rich irony and moments of genuine surprise and intense emotion. . . . Glorious, powerful stuff."--USA Today "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. The book is a page-turner because of her."--San Francisco Chronicle "Olive Kitteridge still lingers in memory like a treasured photograph."--Seattle Post-Intelligencer "Rarely does a story collection pack such a gutsy emotional punch."--Entertainment Weekly "Strout animates the ordinary with astonishing force. . . . [She] makes us experience not only the terrors of change but also the terrifying hope that change can bring: she plunges us into these churning waters and we come up gasping for air."--The New Yorkershow more

Product details

  • Hardback | 270 pages
  • 160.02 x 241.3 x 30.48mm | 476.27g
  • Random House USA Inc
  • Random House Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 140006208X
  • 9781400062089
  • 119,048

Review quote

NAMED A BEST BOOK""OF 2008 BY" People USA Today The Atlantic The Washington Post Book World Seattle Post-Intelligencer Entertainment Weekly The Christian Science Monitor San Francisco Chronicle Salon San Antonio Express-News Chicago Tribune The Wall Street Journal "show more

About Elizabeth Strout

Elizabeth Strout is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Olive Kitteridge, as well as The Burgess Boys, a New York Times bestseller; Abide with Me, a national bestseller; and Amy and Isabelle, which won the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize. She has also been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize in England. Her short stories have been published in a number of magazines, including The New Yorker and O: The Oprah Magazine. Elizabeth Strout lives in New York City.show more

Our customer reviews

As in a cubist painting, we observe Olive Kitteridge from lots of subjective points of view and different distances, as if we were taking a picture of her zooming with a powerful camera. However hateful and sullen we may find her at the beginning, sometimes almost rude and disrespectful of the fellow man, at the end Olive will be one of us, and her microcosm will look like ours, with our neighbours, friends, relatives, acquaintances, colleagues or simple local residents. In the calm and rural Maine, Olive was a maths teacher, more feared than respected, just for her apparently detached and standoffish attitude. She is the wife of a good man, friendly and beloved, the chemist Henry, who often bears in silence his wife's outbursts even in front of their son, Christopher, a silent, introvert and not very loving boy who will become a distant son, more interested in his own businesses than in keeping in contact with his elderly parents. Under different aspects and with dramatic depths and features probably only hinted, but very real and tangible, the events of Olive's family bring to our mind the Lamberts of The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen. The relationships, moulded in reciprocal silence and detachment, and nourished by years of low head and carelessness, become chronic when age proceeds, parents become fragile and stubborn elderly people and their children turn into selfish adults, too busy and probably still hurt by past incommunicability. The same happens among Olive, her husband and her son, while around them the small community of Crosby lives, shaken by what Olive herself defines big explosions (marriages, children, illnesses and so on) and little explosions (a smiling salesman, an unexpected kindness). Elizabeth Strout writes well. She depicts in few traits people, stories, places, gestures, all with a great skill. The tales which compose this book are all like pearls in a necklace, they all have their own identity, a completeness and a meaning that few authors can give to this short literary genre, and they leave the reader satisfied and without the usual disappointment caused by the unfinished state or the superficiality of what they read. All the tales, all the characters (among them sooner or later Olive's stout figure shows off) are permeated by a sort of wrong-footed melancholy for passing time, for the feelings - which are never sugary, even when they are deep and sincere - and for daily routine made of tulip bulbs to plant, shopping to do and dogs to take out. Olive is a bit like all of us, when we are rude and don't want to but we fear to let ourselves go; when we would like that the affection we feel could be perceived under our surface; when a teardrop or a smile escape and we turn aside to hide ourselves from the world.show more
by Claudia Rispoli