. The best parts of this novel admit you into Strout’s vision of being alive, in which the elation of human connection makes the despair worth enduring. She also captures the physiological reverberations of intense emotion—the warmth of happiness, the bodily ache of sadness, the nausea of disgust, the jaw tingling of an encounter with an old lover. In one overwrought section, she practically shouts that everyone is worthy of our sympathy—the Muslim-American daughter of Somali refugees and the Trump-supporting white woman who is rude to her. The novel is at its weakest when Strout feels the need to spell this out. Please see your welcome email for exclusions and details. Olive, Again poignantly reminds us that empathy, a requirement for love, helps make life ‘not unhappy.’”—NPR, NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY PEOPLE AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Time • Vogue • NPR • The Washington Post • Chicago Tribune • Vanity Fair • Entertainment Weekly • BuzzFeed • Esquire • Real Simple • Good Housekeeping • The New York Public Library • The Guardian • Evening Standard • Kirkus Reviews • Publishers Weekly • BookPage, Prickly, wry, resistant to change yet ruthlessly honest and deeply empathetic, Olive Kitteridge is “a compelling life force” (San Francisco Chronicle). . Indeed, it may even cause readers to lose their footing. This is simple prose, but it packs a punch. amazon.com. Elizabeth Strout. Olive, Again, the sequel to Elizabeth Strout’s 2008 novel Olive Kitteridge, returns to the quiet fictional town of Crosby, Maine, an hour from Strout’s hometown of Portland. Like Eliot, she sees reading and writing literature as moral acts. Above all, Strout is a master of interiority, plunging us into rich inner lives pummeled by sudden swoops and gusts of fear and rage, joy and sorrow. . . Her honesty makes people strangely willing to confide in her, and the raw power of Ms. Strout’s writing comes from these unvarnished exchanges, in which characters reveal themselves in all of their sadness and badness and confusion. 2. There were many themes in the book. The great, terrible mess of living is spilled out across the pages of this moving book. She still did not understand why they should walk into old age with this high and horrible wall between them. Olive’s anguish is as much from regret as it is from her inability to understand herself, a feeling that plagues many characters in this novel. † Conditions apply. With trademark clarity, Strout reveals that every passing stranger is equally capable of acute suffering. Her rounded portraits are correctives to the caricatures that flood the media. Strout excels at portraying the regular turbulence of marriage—the ways love can swiftly transfigure into hate, hostility into tenderness. @tarakmenon — tarakmenon.com, All rights reserved. Olive, Again picks up shortly after the Pulitzer Prize–winning, best-selling Olive Kitteridge ends. Your review has been submitted and will appear here shortly. In this way, she convinces that all individuals, even the deplorable, deserve understanding. Offer valid for new subscribers only.† Conditions apply. Free UK p&p over £15, online orders only. In one chapter, her portrait of the elaborate choreography of a couple who haven’t spoken in thirty-five years (“back then there was no forgiveness and no divorce”) unveils the myriad ways devotion and estrangement can sit side-by-side in marriage. . The introduction of these two women, both at-home nurses for Olive, feels contrived. Plus, enjoy 10% off your next online purchase over $50. Like that novel, it explores provincial domestic life: the traumas of childhood, the trials of parenthood, and the frustrations of marriage. Her discernible anxiety about the current political climate and the “horrible orange-haired man who was President” seems to shake her confidence in the force of her work. Like its predecessor, the novel’s 13 interconnected but discontinuous short stories follow the lives of the cantankerous Olive Kitteridge and several other families in Crosby, picking up a year after the previous novel ended. After her stints in New York City (the stunning My Name is Lucy Barton) and rural Illinois (the still more impressive Anything is Possible), Strout returns to Maine, her home state and the setting of her first four novels. Reading Strout heightens your awareness of your own bouts of despair but also makes you feel less alone, united as you are with the distressed souls that surround you. What a terrific writer she is.”—Zadie Smith, The Guardian**, “Just as wonderful as the original . And I’ve become an old lady.” She sat down across from Andrea, in spite of thinking that she saw in the girl’s face a wish not to be disturbed. **NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB PICK • Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout continues the life of her beloved Olive Kitteridge, a character who has captured the imaginations of millions. Olive’s fresh dismay at each humiliation—the cane, the nurses, the diapers, the inevitable move to assisted living—heightens the pathos. She shows Olive and her contemporaries slowly lose control of their minds and bodies through prostate surgery, heart attacks, strokes, dementia, Alzheimer’s. What crime had he been committing, except to ask for her love?). Did you relate to these themes? (But why? Like that novel, it explores provincial domestic life: the traumas of childhood, the trials of parenthood, and the frustrations of marriage. Shop online, free pickup in store in as little as 3 hours. Offer valid for new subscribers only. bookforum.com is a registered trademark of Bookforum Magazine, New York, NY. . Olive, Again affirms the capacity of literature to revive flagging sympathy. “It is I. With sensitivity and spare prose, she loosens our wadding to let us hear the roar. By far the cruelest torture of aging is the horrifying isolation brought on by the spouses who die and the children who don’t visit. If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel’s heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence. Nostalgia ridden by guilt predominates, and it makes Olive, Again both mellower and more melancholy than its predecessor. Please see your welcome email for exclusions and details. Strout’s style is characteristically synoptic: Each of these chapters could stand alone as a short story but they are made richer by connections, both subtle and overt, to other chapters and to Strout’s earlier fiction. But it was something she had seemed unable to help, as though the stone wall that had rambled along between them during the course of their long marriage—a stone wall that separated them but also provided unexpected dips of moss-covered warm spots where sunshine would flicker between them in a sudden laugh of understanding—had become tall and unyielding, and not providing flowers in its crannies but some ice storm frozen along it instead. Thank you. Did it make you more aware of what you may have to face when you reach the 70s? She did not know who she was, or what would happen to her. 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. Olive, Again picks up shortly after the Pulitzer Prize–winning, best-selling Olive Kitteridge ends. The truth is that Olive did not understand why age had brought with it a kind of hard-heartedness toward her husband. Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout. • The novel excels at showing the ways love can swiftly transfigure into hate, hostility into tenderness. 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 us—in Strout’s words—“to bear the burden of the mystery with as much grace as we can.”, “Olive is a brilliant creation not only because of her eternal cantankerousness but because she’s as brutally candid with herself about her shortcomings as she is with others.

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