Olive, Again

Olive, Again

by Elizabeth Strout

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#1 New York Times bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout continues the life of her beloved Olive Kitteridge, a character who has captured the imaginations of millions.

“Strout managed to make me love this strange woman I’d never met, who I knew nothing about. What a terrific writer she is.”—Zadie Smith, The Guardian

NAMED ONE OF FALL’S MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS BY PeopleTimeEntertainment WeeklyVanity FairBuzzFeedVogueUSA Today • The Seattle TimesHuffPostNewsdayVultureBustleVoxPopSugarGood HousekeepingLitHubBook Riot
Prickly, wry, resistant to change yet ruthlessly honest and deeply empathetic, Olive Kitteridge is “a compelling life force” (San Francisco Chronicle). 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. 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 moments of transcendent grace.

Advance praise for Olive, Again

“There’s no simple truth about human existence, Strout reminds us, only wonderful, painful complexity. ‘Well, that’s life,’ Olive says. ‘Nothing you can do about it.’ Beautifully written and alive with compassion, at times almost unbearably poignant. A thrilling book in every way.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Strout’s stories form a cohesive novel, both sequel and culmination, that captures, with humor, compassion, and embarrassing detail, aging, loss, loneliness, and love. Strout again demonstrates her gift for zeroing in on ordinary moments in the lives of ordinary people to highlight their extraordinary resilience.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812996555
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/15/2019
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 104
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Elizabeth Strout is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Olive Kitteridge, winner of the Pulitzer Prize; Anything Is Possible, her most recent book and winner of The Story Prize; My Name Is Lucy Barton, longlisted for the Man Booker Prize; The Burgess Boys, named one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post and NPR; Abide with Me, a national bestseller; and Amy and Isabelle, winner of the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize. She has also been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the International Dublin Literary Award, and the Orange Prize. Her short stories have been published in a number of magazines, including The New Yorker. Elizabeth Strout lives in New York City.


Brooklyn, New York

Date of Birth:

January 6, 1956

Place of Birth:

Portland, Maine


B.A., Bates College, 1977; J.D., Syracuse College of Law, 1982

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Olive, Again: A Novel 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
Anonymous 4 days ago
I waited for this book,only to find I prefer the first centered around Olive.
paigereadsthepage 6 days ago
The main character, Olive, picks up shortly after where she left off in the previous novel, Olive Kitteridge. While this is the second novel in the series, it can easily be read as a standalone because she recaps the main events that happened in the first novel. However, I recommend reading the first novel in order to appreciate some of the returning characters. Life’s transitions, juxtapositions, and troubles are celebrated through Olive and the other characters. I found the last half of the novel to be extremely emotional. Olive is reaching a fragile point in her life and begins to calculate its significance and purpose. What makes a full life? As Olive ages, she continues to engage in the boulevard of life while trying to amount her existence. In Olive, Again there are thirteen short stories. Out of the 13 short stories, 5 of those are Olive’s direct story. In the remaining 8 stories, Olive makes an appearance in some shape or form. Each short story relates to the central theme of the novel to some degree and occur near or in the setting of Maine. Topics include suicide, sexual freedom, family, adultery, and aging. I love Olive, Again and recommend to lovers of literary sagas and contemporary fiction . Thank you to Elizabeth Strout, Random House, and NetGalley for a copy. Opinions are my own.
Xkoqueen 18 hours ago
In Olive, Again, author Elizabeth Strout gives her readers more of the churlish, judgmental and highly disliked Olive Kitteridge. As with the first book, the story is told through interwoven short stories. In this second book, Olive is featured prominently in most of the stories (whereas there were many stories in the first book in which she only had a cameo appearance). Age and loneliness have softened Olive a little bit. While outwardly brutally honest and outspoken, readers have insight to Olive’s vulnerabilities through her inner dialogue. There were times I felt her sadness and regret deeply—especially as it related to her estranged son and grandchildren. Olive has moments of enlightenment, however, she believes a change will not beget the reward she desires at this point in her life. “…she just sat I her chair and watched her birds at the feeder outside her window and thought that she was not unhappy.” For all her claims of being blue collar and “salt-of-the-Earth”, Olive is, in fact, quite the snob. On one hand she claims to be an extreme liberal, and on the other hand she has no tolerance and is quite judgmental of anyone who she considers pedestrian or “wrong” (e.g., anyone who doesn’t share her views). The dichotomy of how misunderstood she feels and how disparaging she is of others makes Olive Kitteridge a conundrum. Do I empathize with her? Do I hold her in contempt? The answer is a little of both. As with most people, Olive has muddled through life the best she can. Sometimes she is curt and brusque, and at times she displays compassion (in a stoic, Mainer way). Her mistakes have cost her dearly in terms of a son who cannot forgive her for her imperfections. That painful penance is balanced by several encounters with former students who clearly were positively influenced by their high school math teacher. A creatively told tale about human frailty and misgivings, about love, longing and regret, Olive, Again is a bit more melancholy and introspective than the first book. With the exception of the unnecessary inclusion of political opinion, Olive Again would have been the perfect sequel to the story of the highly opinionated and bluntly honest Olive Kitteridge.
Anonymous 21 hours ago
I loved the connected stories of Crosby, Maine that involves Olive Kitteridge. There were many life lessons woven through these stories. I highly recommend this book to all ages.
lhill82125 22 hours ago
I love Olive Kittridge, she is her own woman even if sometimes she finds herself a bit outspoken LOL. She makes us all take a look at our own senior years and just what they might be like. Thank you for such a great book!
rcahill 24 hours ago
I am sometimes nervous about reading books by Pulitzer winners, will it be too high brow or too dry? I am glad I took a chance on Olive Again, by Elizabeth Strout, as it is down-to-earth and fast-moving. Strout reintroduces Olive, a curmudgeon spending her golden years in Crosby, Maine. Olive is quick-witted and observant and the book switches between her life and those adjacent to her. The chapters fly by, as does the book’s timeline, and you learn about the characters that surround Olive in her small town. If you are hesitant to try Literary Fiction, this would be a great place to start. In fact, Olive Kitteridge was the original in this series and won the Pulitzer in 2009, so head that way for an accessible entry into the world of Literary Fiction!
Anonymous 1 days ago
I confess I don't remember much about the original Olive Kitteridge novel, except it was quirky, Olive was a difficult character, and I liked her. Olive, Again is even quirkier, a series of chapters containing characters who mostly connect through Olive. Olive is honest to a fault, blunt, impatient, self-centered but she grows on you. She has a way of cutting through to the heart of a matter with a kind of awkward grace. So much that seems random in this book actually proves not to be. I believe Elizabeth Strout is a careful writer and I believe she sets ups scenarios and wisdom for us to find. The stories are about loyalty and love, forgiveness and acceptance. And there's a strong thread of dark almost Flannery O'Connor like humor which runs through -- check out the story about the young dominatrix. Wonderul life, unforgettable characters. Thanks to the Publisher and to Net Galley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest reviews.
357800 1 days ago
"Olive thinks everything is crap".....or does she. Elizabeth Strout is back and so is the memorable curmudgeon Olive Kitteridge. Somewhat older now and heavier, but she's still formidable with her forthright personality and smart-mouth tell it like it is comments that seem to explode out of her. Everyone in Crosby, Maine whether visitor or resident seems to have a truckload of major problems in their life, and they all seem to know or are connected to Olive in one way or another. The format of this novel is similar to book one as we are introduced to a variety of characters, both old and new and their outlandish, often complex stories. Olive is still a hoot, honest to a fault, but a person with a good heart and worries of her own as she admits to and laments a multitude of mistakes in her life. OLIVE, AGAIN will break your heart and make you smile with its honest emotion. (So agree with her assessment of petunia's and not wanting to go over the bridge!) ***Arc provided by Random House Publishing Group - Random House via NetGalley in exchange for review***
Jataylor1010 1 days ago
The original novel Olive Kitteridge is one of my favorite all-time books. Needless to say, I was excited to see Elizabeth Strout had written Olive, Again. The characters of Olive, Jack, Olive's son Christopher and others are as striking and memorable here as in the first book. Strout is able to draw these characters and reexamine others in a way that makes them unforgettable. The reader feels part of the narrative, and wants the story of Olive in Crosby, Maine to continue indefinitely.
mainlinebooker 1 days ago
Oh how I have missed my sweet curmudgeon Olive....That does sound like an oxymoron but in Olive's case it is no mistake. In her previous book we were introduced to Olive, the same cantankerous, obstinate, blunt woman we face now but time has softened her edges and replaced SOME of her insensitivity with her understanding of human behavior and relationships that Strout pens with a deft touch. Don't get me wrong; she is still the same old Olive but this book delves more into issues that arise as the years accumulate. Divorce happens, illness arrives, misgivings abound, and family misunderstandings and loneliness materialize. These are all embedded in stories of compassion and intimacy and friendship. I think I even loved this Olive even more peering at her vulnerability during the aging process. It is not crucial to read the previous book before this one, but I think it adds another dimension to fleshing out this terrific character. Run to see her. You will just smile at being in her company.
Dedee1 1 days ago
I didn't realize that there was a previous book about Olive when I chose this book to read. It would be beneficial to have read the first book in order to understand the character better. Not having known the characters it took a while to determine the premise of more a collection of short stories that involve a day in the life of Olive and sometimes Jack. She is a quirky, simple, sometimes intense individual that often 'has no filter' or for the most part, just speaks whatever comes to mind. On occasion you are given what is on her mind without it being spoken. Sometimes it is the day in the life of someone else and how they !at remember Olive or randomly bump into her in town. It is a thought provoking and entertaining study of a quirky character.
mweinreich 1 days ago
This book is going to go into a new file I am calling, "I wish I had liked it more." While it certainly had its many pluses as the irascible Olive was back in rare form, it also had a number of puzzling occurrences and a chapter that had me scratching my head wondering why. Olive is getting older or as we who are in the same boat like to say, becoming more mature. She still goes about, saying "Oliveisms" and ticking off a few people, including family, but she has developed a new inner perspective. It's like Olive looked into a mirror that was able to see inside herself and she wasn't all that thrilled with the reflection. She has a new love in her life, Jack, who recognizes her for the snob she is, but still loves her. Her relationship with her son is always on the fritz as they all walk a very tight line between I can tolerate you and I can't stay in your company another minute. But as mentioned, Olive is maturing, and starts down a road that she should have traveled a long time ago, but hey, better late than never. Perhaps it is never too late to salvage relationships. All in all, this was a good story, although even after a number of days thinking about it I am still a bit perplexed. However, as Olive discovers, and we do as well, there are always gray areas and Olive and her author have explored the grayness and we are left to puzzle out the rest. 4 stars for me and yes, I was a tad disappointed, but I am working on my gray areas. Thank you to Elizabeth Strout, Random House, and NetGalley for a copy of this book due to be published o
bamcooks 1 days ago
How nice it was to spend time with Olive Kitteridge once again! These stories are a bit sad as they delve into the aging process for the most part, but Ms Strout also examines some of our human foibles and kinks--what makes this crazy world go round. Maybe love and forgiveness can redeem us. Elizabeth Strout is an amazing writer. I received an arc from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks for the opportunity.
Piney10 1 days ago
4.75. I have always loved Elizabeth Strout’s novels, from Olive Kittredge, and others including her most recent, My Name is Lucy Barton and Anything is Possible. I was thrilled when I saw that she has written a new novel, Olive Again. This new novel does not disappoint at all. Its a winner! I laughed and cried. It’s a continuation of that whimsical, brusque, judgmental, brutally honest, yet lovable character, Olive Kittredge. As in Strout’s other novels, we see Olive’s interactions through vignettes with other Maine residents throughout the novel. We meet Olive in her senior years, retired from teaching and after the death of her husband Henry, still living in Crosby, Maine. Between reminiscing on her life, including her marriages (yes, Olive marries again in this novel), and as a mother, and her various interactions with people in the community we see an imperfect person who is really trying to come to grips with her shortcomings. Yet we also see a compassionate Olive, in her “Olive” way, for example, in helping a pregnant woman ready to give birth unexpectedly at a baby shower for someone else, empathetic to a cancer patient/former student and her home health nurses, and to a young lawyer coming to grips with her own family history. Ms Strout’s writing is breathtakingly beautiful and concise, all characters well developed. I can’t wait for the movie and hope that Frances McDormand once again plays Olive as that is who I saw throughout the novel. This is a novel of loneliness, the complexities of marriage, motherhood, addiction and alcoholism, love, forgiveness, redemption, aging, and just a realistic picture of ordinary people. A beautiful rendering of the human spirit in all of its perspectives. Thank you Ms. Strout. Keep on writing these winners! I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
MLyons 1 days ago
4.5 stars. I loved Olive Kitteridge and this wonderful sequel did not disappoint in any way! Through a series of connected short stories, the reader catches up with Olive, still her curmudgeonly self but definitely older, and others who inhabit or pass through Olive’s small town of Crosby, Maine. We see Olive watch her friends and family fall away as she deals with her own physical decline that comes with age. She is still the same old Olive, however, as abrasive and bluntly honest as ever, but with an inner heart of gold. This novel was a wonderful opportunity to go back and visit Olive as an old friend, as well as to catch up with characters from the previous novel and from other of Strout’s works (for example, Amy and Isabelle). As I was reading, I saw Olive as an older Francis McDormand, who played Olive’s character so beautifully and brilliantly in the television mini-series. Strout’s writing was, as always, superb and impeccable -- and again Pulitzer Prize worthy. Her portrayal of Olive as she enters into old age is both illuminating and heart-breaking. I can hear Olive thinking over and over again, “Getting old is definitely not for sissies!” All in all, this was another wonderful read from Strout. If you loved Olive Kitteridge, you will love Olive, Again.
Anonymous 1 days ago
I loved Olive Kitteridge when I read it, and wasn't sure what to expect with this sequel. Elizabeth Strout is a wonderful writer, and she did not disappoint. I loved that she used the same format--short chapter vignettes about different residents of the small town of Crosby, Maine, where Olive pops up and we see different facets of this retired math teacher. Everyone has a story, and Strout is a consummate storyteller; we learn of people's marriages, families, friends, loves, deaths, aging, and loneliness. I really didn't want this novel to end. Highly recommended.
NicolettaG 1 days ago
I loved it! I read and loved a few books from Elizabeth Strout and Olive Again was not a disappointment too. I was not a big fan of short stories, but I started loving them with authors like Elizabeth Strout. My dislike for short stories was because I felt often that short stories were missing something like a good description of characters or a good plot, or something amiss in the story. This is not the case with Elizabeth Strout novels, and I must say the books I loved the most are this one and Anything is possible. She successfully describes the characters and they are so human! They are often not very lovable, but this make them real not just a character in a book. In this book you will find again Olive, but also other personages of previous Elizabeth Strout novels, it may be good reading her previous novel I think but it is not necessary! Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Anonymous 2 days ago
I didn't want this to end!
Shelley-S-Reviewer 2 days ago
Elizabeth Strout has done it again. There are very few books I reward with a five star review as I feel a rating that high needs to be something nearly life altering, this book is it. This novel is well written with solid characterization. The imagery is solid and does a nice job putting you into the environment, Maine is like another character in the book. Readers of classic literature and of just plain old excellent story telling will not regret picking up this book. As I mentioned I am familiar with Ms. Strout's work and will immediately reading anything she writes. Overall the novel will keep you intrigued throughout in what almost seems like a series of short stories woven together. I simply loved this book, highly recommended.
NovelKim 3 days ago
Juddering, stuttering, along goes Olive, brutally honest and often off putting. Person to person, vignette to vignette, the theme of whether a life has been honestly lived repeats. So many imperfect people with ordinary problems which dwarf their ability to bear their burdens gracefully or any other way. The exploration of loneliness and the lack of answers, well isn’t that what life is about? Olive Kitteridge attempts to teach life’s lesson of knowing who you are, listening to yourself and never forgetting who you are. Knowing you can love deeply and also knowing that it can be temporary. Knowing that all love should be taken seriously and then admitting that she has no clue who she has been and that she doesn’t understand a thing. Isn’t that what life is about? Thank you NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group for a copy
labmom55 3 days ago
4.5 stars, rounded up Elizabeth Strout is just a fabulous writer. Her ability to weave together a diverse group of characters always fascinates me. Her books are a blend between short stories and a novel. While I’m not a fan of short stories, her books always work for me, the way each chapter links to the next in its own weird way. Olive, Again returns us to Crosby, Maine. Olive and her cronies are now in their 70s and looking back on their lives as much as forward. I felt an alliance with Olive. She’s not tactful, although she’s tying harder. And she’s not at ease. She struggles to find common ground with her own son, let alone his wife and their children. As she moves through her old age, she finds a way to make things work. She becomes more accepting. I saw both myself and my parents reflected in Olive’s efforts to navigate the whole aging process. Strout makes every character, not just Olive, seem fully formed and real. This is a small town and while it seems not much happens, the book speaks to life in all its variations. It was such a rich story, it totally drew me in. My thanks to netgalley and Random House for an advance copy of this book.
Dogs-love2read2 5 days ago
What a wonderful book. I'm surprised to find out the title of Olive, Again is due to an earlier book by Ms Strout called Olive Kitteridge. Now, I want to read her first book. The characters are well developed and interesting. The story development is unique and once I was two chapters in I wanted to keep reading. I recommend this book to anyone who likes good writing. It was a pleasure to read. I received an Advanced Reader's Copy from Elizabeth Strout and Random House through NetGalley. The opinions expressed are completely my own. #Olive,Again #NetGalley
TJReads 5 days ago
Before I go any further, I want to say, I have Olive Kitteridge in my library but hadn’t read it yet. That being said, maybe this book would have made more sense if I had. I was so looking forward to this read and was excited when NetGalley and the publisher gave me the opportunity. And with all the glowing reviews, I had truly expected more. I do have several of Elizabeth’s other books in my library and even with this disappointment, I am looking very forward to reading them. This book is a menagerie of several small stories, other than Olive’s, and they just didn’t relate to the plot. A couple were way out there with sexual scenes that didn’t make much sense and probably could have been left out, in fact I found them kind of weird. I tried my best to fall in love with Olive but it just didn’t happen, even though there were several scenes that were enjoyable with her peculiar ways. Towards the end I felt the story was trying to redeem itself but it was almost too little too late. If I had read Olive Kitteridge first, maybe that would have helped, but unfortunately, I didn’t. This was a very disappointing book for what I was expecting. I thank Random House Publishing Group and NetGalley for the privilege of reading this for my honest unbiased review. Unfortunately, the best I can do is 3 stars.
Clarita 5 days ago
What a great character Olive is and one that I think many older people can identify with. Not necessarily being like her in that she was often brusque and unfriendly and believed she wasn’t a good mother to her son, but how introspective she was. The story actually starts with Jack, a rich guy who lost his wife only months ago and ponders what to do. He is lonely. He has one daughter who “doesn’t like him” and he admits he was not a good father. Similarly Olive has lost her Henry. She has one son Steven who she says doesn’t like her. She wanders around her house wondering what on earth she is going to do now. They meet, Jack eager to get together, Olive resisting, reluctant, but finally decides loneliness is not for her. In their eighties, a delightful union of two onerous old people, but happy to have each other’s company. They talk about what they could, should and wished they had done in the past, and also make an attempt to talk to their children. I particularly liked the last chapters in Olive’s life and I recommend you all get to read them. A thought provoking book.
JillB1 5 days ago
Welcome back, Olive. I have spent many hours wondering how you were, what you were doing and whose business you were getting into ...and now we discover that you have been busy. Older, wiser, more determined. Oh how I love you Olive and I can read about you again and again. Astonishing, outstanding and wonderful beyond words.