Olive Kitteridge: Fiction
The genius of Elizabeth Strout is in eliciting from the reader such deep feelings of empathy for a character who more often than not thinks, says and does so many things that make you cringe with embarrassment. Olive Kitteridge's world view is often narrow and cranky and unintentionally funny; she's that 8th grade math teacher you were probably terrified by. And yet, her fine-tuned sensitivity to a former student's anguish is hauntingly beautiful and spot on. An ensemble of small town characters enrich these linked short stories, set in a tiny town in coastal Maine. I'm not as big a fan of Anne Tyler as I am of the less prolific Strout, but Tyler's readers will especially love this book. -- Margaret Simpson
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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 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.
Praise for Olive Kitteridge:
“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.”
“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.”
“Rarely does a story collection pack such a gutsy emotional punch.”
“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 Yorker
About the Author
Elizabeth Strout is the author of Abide with Me, a national bestseller and Book Sense pick, 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. She is on the faculty of the MFA program at Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina, and lives in New York City.
Praise for Olive Kitteridge: Fiction…
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF 2008 BY:
The Washington Post Book World
The Christian Science Monitor
San Francisco Chronicle
San Antonio Express-News
The Wall Street Journal