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Olive Kitteridge
Cover of Olive Kitteridge
Olive Kitteridge
Fiction
Borrow Borrow
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE • The beloved first novel featuring Olive Kitteridge, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Oprah's Book Club pick Olive, Again

"Fiction lovers, remember this name: Olive Kitteridge. . . . You'll never forget her."—USA Today

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post Book World USA Today San Francisco Chronicle Chicago Tribune Seattle Post-Intelligencer People Entertainment Weekly The Christian Science Monitor The Plain Dealer The Atlantic Rocky Mountain News Library Journal

At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town of Crosby, Maine, and in the world at large, but she doesn't always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance; a former student who has lost the will to live; Olive's own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and her husband, Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse.
As the townspeople grapple with their problems, mild and dire, Olive is brought to a deeper understanding of herself and her life—sometimes painfully, but always with ruthless honesty. Olive Kitteridge offers profound insights into the human condition—its conflicts, its tragedies and joys, and the endurance it requires.

The inspiration for the Emmy Award–winning HBO miniseries starring Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins, and Bill Murray
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE • The beloved first novel featuring Olive Kitteridge, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Oprah's Book Club pick Olive, Again

"Fiction lovers, remember this name: Olive Kitteridge. . . . You'll never forget her."—USA Today

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post Book World USA Today San Francisco Chronicle Chicago Tribune Seattle Post-Intelligencer People Entertainment Weekly The Christian Science Monitor The Plain Dealer The Atlantic Rocky Mountain News Library Journal

At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town of Crosby, Maine, and in the world at large, but she doesn't always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance; a former student who has lost the will to live; Olive's own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and her husband, Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse.
As the townspeople grapple with their problems, mild and dire, Olive is brought to a deeper understanding of herself and her life—sometimes painfully, but always with ruthless honesty. Olive Kitteridge offers profound insights into the human condition—its conflicts, its tragedies and joys, and the endurance it requires.

The inspiration for the Emmy Award–winning HBO miniseries starring Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins, and Bill Murray
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Excerpts-
  • From the cover Pharmacy

    For many years Henry Kitteridge was a pharmacist in the next town over, driving every morning on snowy roads, or rainy roads, or summertime roads, when the wild raspberries shot their new growth in brambles along the last section of town before he turned off to where the wider road led to the pharmacy. Retired now, he still wakes early and remembers how mornings used to be his favorite, as though the world were his secret, tires rumbling softly beneath him and the light emerging through the early fog, the brief sight of the bay off to his right, then the pines, tall and slender, and almost always he rode with the window partly open because he loved the smell of the pines and the heavy salt air, and in the winter he loved the smell of the cold.

    The pharmacy was a small two-story building attached to another building that housed separately a hardware store and a small grocery. Each morning Henry parked in the back by the large metal bins, and then entered the pharmacy's back door, and went about switching on the lights, turning up the thermostat, or, if it was summer, getting the fans going. He would open the safe, put money in the register, unlock the front door, wash his hands, put on his white lab coat. The ritual was pleasing, as though the old store—with its shelves of toothpaste, vitamins, cosmetics, hair adornments, even sewing needles and greeting cards, as well as red rubber hot water bottles, enema pumps—was a person altogether steady and steadfast. And any unpleasantness that may have occurred back in his home, any uneasiness at the way his wife often left their bed to wander through their home in the night's dark hours—all this receded like a shoreline as he walked through the safety of his pharmacy. Standing in the back, with the drawers and rows of pills, Henry was cheerful when the phone began to ring, cheerful when Mrs. Merriman came for her blood pressure medicine, or old Cliff Mott arrived for his digitalis, cheerful when he prepared the Valium for Rachel Jones, whose husband ran off the night their baby was born. It was Henry's nature to listen, and many times during the week he would say, "Gosh, I'm awful sorry to hear that," or "Say, isn't that something?"

    Inwardly, he suffered the quiet trepidations of a man who had witnessed twice in childhood the nervous breakdowns of a mother who had otherwise cared for him with stridency. And so if, as rarely happened, a customer was distressed over a price, or irritated by the quality of an Ace bandage or ice pack, Henry did what he could to rectify things quickly. For many years Mrs. Granger worked for him; her husband was a lobster fisherman, and she seemed to carry with her the cold breeze of the open water, not so eager to please a wary customer. He had to listen with half an ear as he filled prescriptions, to make sure she was not at the cash register dismissing a complaint. More than once he was reminded of that same sensation in watching to see that his wife, Olive, did not bear down too hard on Christopher over a homework assignment or a chore left undone; that sense of his attention hovering—the need to keep everyone content. When he heard a briskness in Mrs. Granger's voice, he would step down from his back post, moving toward the center of the store to talk with the customer himself. Otherwise, Mrs. Granger did her job well. He appreciated that she was not chatty, kept perfect inventory, and almost never called in sick. That she died in her sleep one night astonished him, and left him with some feeling of responsibility, as though he had missed, working alongside her for years, whatever symptom might have shown itself that he, handling his pills...
About the Author-
  • Elizabeth Strout is the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Olive Kitteridge; the #1 New York Times bestseller My Name Is Lucy Barton; The Burgess Boys, a New York Times bestseller; Abide with Me, a national bestseller and Book Sense pick; and Amy and Isabelle, which won the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize. She has also been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize in England. Her short stories have been published in a number of magazines, including The New Yorker and O: The Oprah Magazine. Elizabeth Strout lives in New York City.
    Kimberly Farr has appeared on Broadway, at the New York Shakespeare Festival, the Roundabout Theatre Company, Playwrights Horizons, and The American Place Theatre. She created the role of Eve in Arthur Miller's first and only musical, Up from Paradise, which was directed by the playwright. She appeared with Vanessa Redgrave in the Broadway production of The Lady from the Sea. She has also acted in regional theaters from Los Angeles to New Haven, Connecticut, including the original production of The 1940's Radio Hour at Washington, DC's Arena Stage.
Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine Sandra Burr's smoky voice, cast with a Maine accent, is perfect for portraying no-nonsense Olive Kitteridge. Burr's range is also large enough to characterize the men, children, and more soft-spoken women Olive encounters. Designed as a collection of short stories, the novel takes Olive from young adulthood to her senior years. She's not featured in every story; in some she makes only brief cameos that serve to depict her small town and its residents. Burr is strong in capturing the comfortable marriage of Olive and Henry, and their strained relationship with their son. Listeners will long remember Burr's characterization of Olive and her struggles with both common and uncommon problems. J.J.B. (c) AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 24, 2008
    Strout's tale of an aging schoolteacher too obsessed with the deterioration of her little town of Crosby, Maine, to realize the problems plaguing her own life, is read with vigor by Sandra Burr. Burr's reading makes Strout's characters rich and wonderful in every way, bringing a well-rounded originality to each one. As Olive, Burr's voice slips into a nagging, aged groan that seems perfectly suited for the central character's downtrodden personality. As Olive's husband, Henry, Burr is understated yet powerful. She understands this poignant tale so entirely that her reading becomes reality for the listener. There is a certain melancholy that infects this story, and Burr is poised to capture and relate it to her audience. Simultaneous release with the Random House hardcover (Reviews, Dec. 10).

  • AudioFile Magazine Kimberly Farr has previously narrated two other Elizabeth Strout novels, earning Earphones Awards for both. Her clear grasp of Strout's characterizations and the flow of her delivery are, therefore, not surprising but remain praiseworthy. While named for a single, recurring character--an emotionally unpredictable yet surprisingly sympathetic one--OLIVE KITTERIDGE uses a village of coastal Maine personalities to create its intimate portrait of communal and solitary life. Olive's relationship to her husband and son form the core of the novel, but it's her relationship to the town that binds the disparate stories within this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel together. The many who fell for Olive back in 2008 will be delighted to revisit her through Farr's astute retelling. K.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award � AudioFile 2019, Portland, Maine
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Elizabeth Strout
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