Elizabeth Strout’s OLIVE, AGAIN
Updated: Nov 4, 2019
“It turns out – I just wasn’t done with Olive. It was like she kept poking me in the ribs, so I finally said, ‘Okay, okay…” – Elizabeth Strout
Olive Kitteridge is one of those enduring characters that gets stuck inside your head. There is nothing quite endearing about her but her frankness and bluntness, that can be so off putting to those around her, just makes her someone you can’t help smiling about as she goes about her daily life.
Olive, Again picks up where the first book finished [WARNING – Spoilers Ahead] and is written in the same unique style that makes Elizabeth Strout such a powerful and wonderful writer. Written like individual vignettes; some directly about Olive, some only fleetingly connected, the book is almost a collection of short stories but together as a whole the book becomes something truly magnificent. We re-enter Olive’s life without skipping a beat and also meet more of the inhabitants of Crosby, Maine and its surrounds.
Olive is still coming to terms with the death of her husband Henry, her estrangement from her son Christopher and the fact that she is getting old. She is as curmudgeonly as ever but manages to surprise you with wonderful acts of kindness and unselfishness. Olive still stubbornly resists old age and what it encompasses but she knows she is fighting a losing, protracted battle. Olive’s life, and other Crosby residents, are filled with small joys, bitter sorrows, new found pleasures and forlorn hopes. Olive discovers that it is not so much growing old she fears but growing lonely. And for someone who has lived their life as forthright as Olive has the prospect of being lonely is very real.
This is a book that will bring both tears of happiness and tears of sadness to your eyes as you read it. You will shake your head at some of Olive’s actions and then be blown away by her generosity that seemingly comes out of nowhere. Olive Kitteridge is such a wonderful character to get to know it was such a joy to be reacquainted with her but that made it so much harder to say goodbye to her a second time around. Elizabeth Strout is such a masterful writer, a wonder to behold and a sheer joy to read and experience.
Title: Olive, Again
Author: Elizabeth Strout
Publisher: Penguin UK
Category: General Fiction
Publication Date: 18/11/2019