Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. And now a major HBO mini-series starring Frances McDormand.
Olive Kitteridge: indomitable, compassionate and often unpredictable. A retired schoolteacher in a small coastal town in Maine, as she grows older she struggles to make sense of the changes in her life. She is a woman who sees into the hearts of those around her, their triumphs and tragedies.
We meet her stoic husband, bound to her in a marriage both broken and strong, and a young man who aches for the mother he lost - and whom Olive comforts by her mere presence, while her own son feels overwhelmed by her complex sensitivities.
A penetrating, vibrant exploration of the human soul, the story of Olive Kitteridge will make you laugh, nod in recognition, wince in pain, and shed a tear or two.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Olive Kitteridge is a book that sneaks up on you. One minute you’re reading a lyrical, contemplative novel about the inhabitants of a fictional town in coastal Maine, and the next minute—wham!—you’re listening in on a character airing intimate and explosive secrets. Elizabeth Strout’s 2009 Pulitzer Prize winner—the basis for HBO’s award-winning miniseries starring Frances McDormand—is flat-out magnificent. Engaging from the outset, the novel makes you care deeply about its perfectly flawed characters and their beautiful, emotionally treacherous world.
Thirteen linked tales from Strout (Abide with Me, etc.) present a heart-wrenching, penetrating portrait of ordinary coastal Mainers living lives of quiet grief intermingled with flashes of human connection. The opening "Pharmacy" focuses on terse, dry junior high-school teacher Olive Kitteridge and her gregarious pharmacist husband, Henry, both of whom have survived the loss of a psychologically damaged parent, and both of whom suffer painful attractions to co-workers. Their son, Christopher, takes center stage in "A Little Burst," which describes his wedding in humorous, somewhat disturbing detail, and in "Security," where Olive, in her 70s, visits Christopher and his family in New York. Strout's fiction showcases her ability to reveal through familiar details the mother-of-the-groom's wedding dress, a grandmother's disapproving observations of how her grandchildren are raised the seeds of tragedy. Themes of suicide, depression, bad communication, aging and love, run through these stories, none more vivid or touching than "Incoming Tide," where Olive chats with former student Kevin Coulson as they watch waitress Patty Howe by the seashore, all three struggling with their own misgivings about life. Like this story, the collection is easy to read and impossible to forget. Its literary craft and emotional power will surprise readers unfamiliar with Strout.