Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout


In this novel, Elizabeth Strout takes the reader again to the small town of Crosby, Maine and one of the most memorable inhabitants, Olive Kitteridge.  Olive is still the person she always was, quick to say whatever is on her mind and surprising to those around her.  She is older now and life has changed.  Olive's husband Henry has died and she is a widow.  But things change and Olive meets Jack, a retired Harvard professor and they fall in love and marry.  

The novel is a collection of stories about those who live in Crosby and their relationships to Olive.  There is the woman fighting cancer whose friends ignore her because they don't know what to say yet Olive steps in and visits and gives the woman space to say the forbidden things that are preying on her mind.  There is the teenager who is cleaning houses to make enough money to get out of town and who develops a strange relationship with the husband of one of her employers.  The reader gets to find out what is going on with the Burgess brothers, another of Strout's novels.  

Throughout the novel, Olive is the blunt woman who many turn away from and who always speaks her mind.  She isn't sure if her only son likes her although she knows he loves her.  She can show amazing kindness but is also quick to bring her friends and acquaintances to task when she sees them straying.  Those who liked the first novel, Olive Kitteridge, will enjoy returning to Olive's life and hearing more about this unique individual.  This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction.

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