Thursday, April 8, 2010

Olive Kitteridge - Winner, 2009

Olive Kitteridge
By: Elizabeth Strout
Random House, 2008

Olive Kitteridge is a story about life. Strout used a collection of thirteen short stories about the people of coastal Crosby, Maine with one connecting character, Olive Kitteridge, to tie them all together. Sometimes Olive is the main character and sometime she is only mentioned, but in the end the story of her life has been told. I laughed, I cried, I felt annoyed, I felt empathy. It is raw and beautiful.

Because Strout's novel is a compilation of short stories, there is not a true climax of the story, but that fits well. The reader really gets the sense that they are just following through life with these people. Their experiences are mundane, which is okay because there is something in Olive Kitteridge that most people of all ages can relate to. She explores what it is like to be young and what it is like to be old. I will warn that there are parts of this book that deal with situations and contain language that might not be suitable for all ages. That aside, I enjoyed Olive Kitteridge and would be interested to if others felt the same way.


Rick P said...

This is my first comment. I've read all the Pulitzers for this decade and quite a few others.

I enjoyed Olive very much. I was unthused about reading stories based on a retired schoolteacher form Maine but was very pleasantly surprised.

Olive's character is very well developed and conflicts between meanness and caring.

I definitely enjoyed it.

rolodexter said...

I'm sorry. I know this is supposed to be a great collection of short stories, as it's recognized well, but the shorts are boring. I think I might have just picked this one up at the wrong time. I'm going through this thing, where I don't really like fiction in the third person. I'm finding the third person narrative to be irritating, corny, trite. The leaves did this, and the sun did this to the building. It's trite. It's exhausted. We all don't have very much time these days, and save for the awful reason to just stop and smell the shitty roses, I really am finding that fiction has to say something; come out with it already. I'm impatient. I'll try it again in a month.