I was thrilled to see a new novel from Elizabeth Strout. She’s decided to share with us what’s going on in Olive Kitteridge’s life since the end of the first Pulitzer Prize winning novel, OLIVE KITTERIDGE.
I dove into this novel head first anxious to find out what’s going on in the small seaside town of Crosby Maine since last we left it. Small towns are notorious for goings on. And since several of these characters are already known to us it brought back memories both good and bad.
OLIVE, AGAIN, is written in interlocking stories just as OLIVE KITTERIDGE was more than ten years ago. That format was new then, but now we know Strout practically invented it and it’s ubiquitous nowadays. I love it.
Olive is now a widow at the age of almost eighty as her husband, Henry, died two years earlier. She’s lonely. But she’s not the only lonely soul in town. Even though Jack Kennison who is also recently widowed doesn’t understand why he likes Olive, he does. And soon they decide to tie the knot and not be so lonely. It’s not that they’re madly in love, they are feeling the effects of the loss of their loved ones. So they cleave to one another.
Has Olive’s personality softened at all? Possibly. We can see she is at least trying. Trying to be nice. Trying to not be so darned brash. We get a glimpse of a side of her we had not seen before. It’s refreshing.
Olive comes in contact with people who are suffering, or grieving, or being abused, or dying. So many issues.
Strout is brilliant at character study in all its complicated messiness. This novel made me think. Made me look aging right in the face. Let’s face it, we’re all going to get older, face challenges, and possibly deal with loneliness. How we manage it will tell the tale of our future. Happiness or despair.
There are disturbing scenes that might make you look away from the page. It is not candy-coated. Strout writes with honesty and great depth. I loved this novel.
The ending of OLIVE, AGAIN will stick with me forever. It’s so honest that it’s painful.
Come to OLIVE, AGAIN, for the rest of the story, and stay for the brilliant writing. Bound for greatness! Do not miss OLIVE, AGAIN by Elizabeth Strout.
My review copy arrived from Random House. It is superb.
We’ll have copies of OLIVE, AGAIN for sale at Copperfish Books. On sale at 20% off. Come on in to pick up your copy of the novel. Then stay to browse our brand new gift items. We’re gearing up for the holidays and our season is starting to ramp up. Lovely!