Olive Kitteridge - Elizabeth Strout

Elizabeth Strout

Olive Kitteridge
2008, 270 pages

Olive Kitteridge, the Pulitzer prize-winning ‘novel in stories’ by Elizabeth Strout, describes a small coastal community in Maine. We read about a young man contemplating suicide, a girl who is dumped on her wedding day, an elderly couple who have stayed together despite the husband’s infidelity and a girl who has to cope with the fact that her mother ran away to become an actress. All of these people know Olive Kitteridge, a retired maths teacher, who is very outspoken in her opinions and who is the link running through the thirteen stories. Sometimes she is mentioned only briefly, but several stories centre on her and describe her rather complicated relationship with her only son and her life with her quiet and gentle husband.

Elizabeth Strout shows us how ordinary people can become extraordinary because of the way in which they cope with whatever life throws at them.