From the Pulitzer Prize-winning, Number One New York Times bestselling author of Olive Kitteridge and My Name is Lucy Barton
'A terrific writer' Zadie Smith
'A superbly gifted storyteller and a craftswoman in a league of her own' Hilary Mantel
'A novel to treasure' Sunday Times
Olive, Again follows the blunt, contradictory yet deeply loveable Olive Kitteridge as she grows older, navigating the second half of her life as she comes to terms with the changes - sometimes welcome, sometimes not - in her own existence and in those around her.
Olive adjusts to her new life with her second husband, challenges her estranged son and his family to accept him, experiences loss and loneliness, witnesses the triumphs and heartbreaks of her friends and neighbours in the small coastal town of Crosby, Maine - and, finally, opens herself to new lessons about life.
'A powerful storyteller immersed in the nuances of human relationships' Observer
'She gets better with each book' Maggie O'Farrell
'Her writing is exquisite; her vision is boundless. What a sublime book.' Rachel Joyce
'Glorious' The Times
'A perfect novel' Financial Times
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Oprah calls her new book club pick “one of those books that you start and don’t want to put down.” And whether or not you already know Olive Kitteridge—the prickly heroine Elizabeth Strout first introduced to the world in 2008—we’re certain that Olive, Again will make you fall in love with her little slice of the world. The book draws us into Olive’s richly layered inner life and explores the changing landscape—human and otherwise—of her small Maine town. Strout’s affection for Olive is clear as day, even when she does and says things that are small and mean. She portrays her entire cast of characters with a warm lack of sentimentality these gruff Yankees would undoubtedly appreciate, delivering an unflinching look at aging, loneliness, and the chasms that can open up within families. This novel is a marvel—in no small part because it reminds us to love hard and well while we can.
As direct, funny, sad, and human as its heroine, Strout's welcome follow-up to Olive Kitteridge portrays the cantankerous retired math teacher in old age. The novel, set in small-town coastal Crosby, Maine, unfolds like its predecessor through 13 linked stories. "Arrested" begins just after the first novel ends, with 74-year-old widower Jack Kennison wooing 73-year-old Olive. "Motherless Child" follows the family visit when Olive tells her son she plans to marry Jack. In "Labor," Olive awkwardly admires gifts at a baby shower, then efficiently delivers another guest's baby. Olive also offers characteristic brusque empathy to a grateful cancer patient in "Light," and, in "Heart," to her own two home nurses one a Trump supporter, one the daughter of a Somali refugee. "Helped" brings pathos to the narrative, "The End of the Civil War Days" humor, "The Poet" self-recognition. Jim Burgess of Strout's The Burgess Boys comes to Crosby to visit brother Bob ("Exiles"). Olive, in her 80s, living in assisted care, develops a touching friendship with fellow resident Isabelle from Amy and Isabelle ("Friend"). 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.
Just gorgeously moving
Elizabeth Stroud has an absolute genius for capturing the quiet truths of life and death. She is so devastating in her poignancy and yet it never becomes melodrama or tragedy. Just sheer perfection.