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Olive Kitteridge Audio CD – Audiobook, 1 Sep 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 170 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Audiobook, 1 Sep 2008
£71.69 £22.83
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio (Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423350103
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423350101
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 3.5 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (170 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,078,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

‘Extraordinary . . . the best novel I’ve read for some time’ (David Mitchell on Olive Kitteridge)

‘As perfect a novel as you will ever read . . . So astonishingly good that I shall be reading it once a year for the foreseeable future and very probably for the rest of my life’ (Evening Standard on Olive Kitteridge)

‘Strout animates the ordinary with astonishing force’ (The New Yorker on Olive Kitteridge)

‘Masterfully wrought’ (Vanity Fair on Olive Kitteridge)

‘Strout has a wonderful ability to turn a phrase…[these] pages hold what life puts in: experience, joy, grief, and the sometimes-painful journey to love’ (Observer on Olive Kitteridge)

'I am deeply impressed. Writing of this quality comes from a commitment to listening, from a perfect attunement to the human condition, from an attention to reality so exact that it goes beyond a skill and becomes a virtue. I have never read her before and I knew within a few sentences that here was an artist to value and respect' (Hillary Mantel on My Name is Lucy Barton)

'Strout's best novel yet' (Ann Pachett on My Name is Lucy Barton)

'An exquisite novel... in its careful words and vibrating silences, My Name Is Lucy Barton offers us a rare wealth of emotion, from darkest suffering to - 'I was so happy. Oh, I was happy' - simple joy' (Claire Messud, New York Times Book Review on My Name is Lucy Barton)

'So good I got goosebumps... a masterly novel of family ties by one of America's finest writers' (Sunday Times on My Name is Lucy Barton)

'My Name is Lucy Barton confirms Strout as a powerful storyteller immersed in the nuances of human relationships... Deeply affecting novel...visceral and heartbreaking...If she hadn't already won the Pulitzer for Olive Kitteridge this new novel would surely be a contender' (Observer on My Name is Lucy Barton)

'Hypnotic...yielding a glut of profoundly human truths to do with flight, memory and longing' (Mail on Sunday on My Name is Lucy Barton)

'This is a book you'll want to return to again and again and again' (Irish Independent on My Name is Lucy Barton)

'Slim and spectacular...My Name Is Lucy Barton is smart and cagey in every way. It is both a book of withholdings and a book of great openness and wisdom. It starts with the clean, solid structure and narrative distance of a fairy tale yet becomes more intimate and improvisational, coming close at times to the rawness of autofiction by writers such as Karl Ove Knausgaard and Rachel Cusk. Strout is playing with form here, with ways to get at a story, yet nothing is tentative or haphazard. She is in supreme and magnificent command of this novel at all times....' (Washington Post on My Name is Lucy Barton)

'My Name Is Lucy Barton is a short novel about love, particularly the complicated love between mothers and daughters... It evokes these connections in a style so spare, so pure and so profound the book almost seems to be a kind of scripture or sutra, if a very down-to-earth and unpretentious one' (Newsday on My Name is Lucy Barton)

'Her concise writing is a masterclass in deceptive simplicity...Strout writes with an exacting rhythm, with each word and clause perfectly placed and weighted and each sentence as clear and bracing as grapefruit. It's a small masterpiece' (Daily Mail on My Name is Lucy Barton)

'This short, simple, quiet novel wriggles its way right into your heart and stays there' (Red on My Name is Lucy Barton)

'A beautifully taut novel' (Guardian on My Name is Lucy Barton)

'Agleam with extraordinary psychological insights...delicate, tender but ruthless reveries' (Sunday Express on My Name is Lucy Barton)

'An eerie, compelling novel, its deceptively simple language is a 'slight rush of words' which hold much more than they seem capable of containing...This novel is about the need to create a story we can live with when the real story cannot be told...' (Financial Times on My Name is Lucy Barton)

'Strout uses a different voice herself in this novel: a spare simple one, elegiac in tone that sometimes brings to mind Joan Didion's' (The Tablet on My Name is Lucy Barton)

'An exquisitely written story...a brutally honest, absorbing and emotive read' (Catholic Universe on My Name is Lucy Barton)

'This is a glorious novel, deft, tender and true. Read it' (Sunday Telegraph on My Name is Lucy Barton)

'Honest, intimate and ultimately unforgettable' (Stylist on My Name is Lucy Barton)

'Strout's prose propels the story forward with moments of startlingly poetic clarity.' (The New Yorker on The Burgess Boys)

'One of those rare, invigorating books that take an apparently familiar world and peer into it with ruthless intimacy, revealing a strange and startling place.' (The New York Times Book Review on Amy & Isabelle)

'A novel of shining integrity and humour' (Alice Munro on Amy and Isabelle) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Elizabeth Strout's tenure as a lawyer (six months) was slightly longer than her career as a stand-up comedian (one night). She has also worked as a bartender, waitress and piano player at bars across the USA. She now teaches literature in New York, where she lives with her husband and daughter. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As others have mentioned, this 'novel' is a series of 13 linked short stories. Assembled as they are they paint a picture of Crobsy, a coastal town in Maine, and its inhabitants. The book covers a period of perhaps fifteen or twenty years. What links them is the retired schoolteacher, (maths), Mrs Olive Kitteridge. Olive takes centre stage in just two of the stories/chapters, in some she gets a walk-on part and in several merely a mention. Olive is a 'big woman' both physically and in the effect she has on people she encounters. Some people can't stand her, others are scared of her, her son is estranged from her and her husband, Henry, is devoted to her. Everyone respects her. To me she came over as a rather difficult, no-nonsense, spikey woman who didn't suffer fools gladly. Almost an outsider. I'm not sure that I liked her much but she'd be good to have around in a crisis.
The structure of the book sounds contrived but in fact it makes perfect sense as through all these perspectives the reader gains a three-dimensional picture of life in Crosby - which might almost be 'AnySmallTown'.
This is the third novel I've read by Elizabeth Strout. She is a truly masterful writer who is in complete control of her prose. She avoids clichés and sentimentality, completely drawing us in to the world inhabited by her cast of 'ordinary' characters whose trials and tribulations, triumphs and disasters, ups and downs, mirror and inform the experiences of 'ordinary' people.
Perhaps my favourite read of the year so far.
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Format: Paperback
This reads at times like a novella but it is, of course, a book of short stories each of which can be enjoyed in their own right. The fact that Olive Kitteridge appears, (however fleetingly), in all of them, provides an interesting dimension to the book. I fluctuated between sympathy for her moods and obsessions and a feeling of irritation with her self indulgent moaning and possesive behaviour towards her son. Her husband could be viewed as a saint to put up with her, but, is he really? or, is he too passive and bland, living an interior life she cannot penetrate? It is sadly ironic and symbolic that he ends his days in a care home blind and unspeaking after a stroke. Olive continues to visit him and probably confides more in him now he cannot respond.We see a number of the characters, especially Olive, her husband Henry and their son, in different lights according to who has the narrator's voice at that point. The other characters in the stories are equally interesting. It has echoes for me of Carol Shields and of course the wonderful Alice Munro. I heartily recommend it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is my favourite read of the year so far and last week I was lucky enough to meet the author at a recording of BBC Radio 4's Book Club:

James Naughtie has a bad cold. ‘Your country gave this to me!’ he tells to Pulitzer prizewinning author, Elizabeth Strout. ‘Oh, well,’ she shrugs, unapologetic, and in this way she is rather like her character Olive Kitteridge.

First things first. James Naughtie wants to pin the author down. Is Olive Kitteridge a collection of inter-linking short stories or it is a novel? ‘I think of it as a book,’ replies Strout, which is as sensible and concise as answer as the question deserves. It is whatever the reader wants it to be. A novel whose segments may be considered to be chapters, or individual short stories, in which the most obvious links are a retired school teacher named Olive Kitteridge, the town of Crosby, Maine, and a series of strikingly decisive moments in the lives of its townsfolk.

Strout is a slow writer. She references one story (or chapter) which took her only three to four months to write, which she says was ‘good for her’. The last page came early in the writing process. ‘And I didn’t lose it,’ she adds, something that might easily have happened as she writes entirely by hand.

We first meet Olive through the eyes of her husband, Henry, and then through past and present members of the coastal community. (Maine has proved, and still proves, to be a fertile landscape for fiction). In some chapters, Olive is very much in the background. She is observed by a piano player walking through a bar on the arm of her affable husband. Attending a concert of classical music at Christmas-time in church, she draws the comment, ‘How can he (meaning her husband, Henry) stand her?
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Format: Paperback
Olive Kitteridge might not be the quintessence of pleasantness. As a teacher she always scared the hell out of her pupils; as a wife she never apologized with her husband; as a mother she made life impossible for her son. However, as the pages go by, we can't help realizing how her image changes according to the points of view. Sometimes Olive touches other lives in ways she'd never imagine, sometimes she can even be a very gentle presence, and some others a very obtrusive one. From time to time, in a few tales, we're allowed the small "privilege" of sharing her deeper thoughts, and that's when all the painful contradictions of her inner self come to light.

I really loved this book. What makes it special to my eyes is the way Elizabeth Strout has to approach people's lives, from the outside and from the inside, big and little events, or better big and little "bursts", as Olive would say:

"Olive's private view is that life depends on what she thinks of as 'big bursts' and 'little bursts'. Big bursts are things like marriage or children, intimacies that keep you afloat, but these big bursts hold dangerous, unseen currents. Which is why you need the little bursts as well: a friendly clerk at Bradlee's, let's say, or the waitress at Dunkin's Donuts who knows how you like your coffee. Tricky business, really."

If you're keen on the intimist kind of literature, I strongly recommend it.
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