What's Hot!: Olive, Again: A Novel by Elizabeth Strout
#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.
“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.”
This is the story
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.
Reviews and What Readers Say
“ Strout’s stories form a cohesive novel, both sequel and culmination, that captures, with humor, compassion, and embarrassing detail, aging, loss, loneliness, and love. Strout again demonstrates her gift for zeroing in on ordinary moments in the lives of ordinary people to highlight their extraordinary resilience.”
“ About this book, Strout writes that it never occurred to her to write more stories about Olive Kitteridge. And yet, when a few years ago one of the stories in this collection popped out of her nearly fully formed, Strout realized, “I was not done with Olive at all. And she was not done with me.” What good news for us readers!
These linked stories pick up in Olive’s life soon after the original collection left off, and they progress linearly over the next couple of decades. In some, Olive merely pops in. In some, other characters from the original collection appear, or characters from Strout’s other collections (hello again, Burgess boys!). In many, Olive is the lead character (and with kudos to the fabulous performances in HBO’s adaptation of Olive Kitteridge, I constantly found myself picturing Frances McDormand). The stories have funny moments (particularly Olive’s over-the-top abruptness), but tend to be prickly and reflective in dealing with relationships and aging.
More than the original, this collection left me wanting even more stories. Perhaps one day, Olive will publish her memoirs?”
―emmejay, VINE VOICE, Amazon Reader's Review
“ Tim Samuels knows it isn't always easy to be a man. In a disarmingly honest and funny way, he sets about revealing and challenging many of the ways men now find themselves living - taking on everything from war, religion and pornography, to fatherhood and relationships. The book is important as well as charming: something for many men, and as importantly women, to read, learn and be consoled by.”
―Alain de Botton
“ First of all, you do not have to have read Pulitzer winning, “Olive Kitterage”, or seen the Emmy winning HBO series starring Frances McDormand, to thoroughly enjoy Elizabeth Strout’s follow up, “Olive, Again”, though I predict that you will want to.
The success of the book and HBO series rests on Strout’s perfectly imperfect character, Olive. She is entirely unique and readers have a variety of reactions to her, mostly contradictory because she is. She is hard-nosed somewhat stereo-typically a cold north easterner, judgmental and blunt. She is also compassionate, sarcastically witty, and loyal. I’ve always thought that it would be difficult to be friends with Olive, but worth it.
“Olive, Again”, like its predecessor (and like the two “Lucy Barton” novels Strout has penned in the interim), is a collection of inter-related stories about the denizens of Crosby, Maine, particularly in relation to Olive Kitterage. We meet some familiar characters, but also a few new ones. There is a disturbing story of a young girl who cleans houses and a strange relationship that follows. I was especially touched by the continuation of a story from the first book that relates a poignant conversation between the sister of a murderer and her parent’s lawyer as she returns to Crosby and her memories of growing up there. Evidence of Olive growing as an individual is in a piece where she visits a former pupil who has cancer. I loved these conversations so much because Olive reveals a lot about her marriages. Plus, it’s quite funny! Happily, one section brings us up to date on the Burgess boys - another of Strout's novels!
I didn’t think of this eleven years ago when I first “met” Olive, but this re-acquaintance has made wonder if Olive is on the “autism spectrum”. Is she ignoring social cues, or is she missing them? Is her bluntness and thoughtless disregard for “niceties” because she doesn’t understand the need for them? Several times she does show empathy and concern for others’ feelings, but these episodes seem to come as a shock to even her. In any case, Strout beautifully “grows” Olive in this wonderful new novel. I knew I needed more Olive and I am thankful that Strout did, too!I
t’s a fast read even though I tried to slow down and savor it! Strout is such a wonderful writer, Frances McDormand is such a wonderful actress, let’s hope another HBO series is in the works!”
―Mary Lins TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE, Amazon Reader's Review
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Elizabeth Strout is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Olive Kitteridge, winner of the Pulitzer Prize; Anything Is Possible, her most recent book and winner of The Story Prize; My Name Is Lucy Barton, longlisted for the Man Booker Prize; The Burgess Boys, named one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post and NPR; Abide with Me, a national bestseller; and Amy and Isabelle, winner of the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the Chicago TribuneHeartland Prize. She has also been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the International Dublin Literary Award, and the Orange Prize. Her short stories have been published in a number of magazines, including The New Yorker. Elizabeth Strout lives in New York City.