Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Olive Kitteridge is a 'novel in stories', a collection of 13 stories of a community in Maine. Each is about a different person in the town but Olive Kitteridge appears in all. Through the stories where she's the central character we come to see (and sometimes understand) how she views the world and how she's coping with getting older and the associated changes to her life. Through the other storied, the comments of the townspeople, we have a glimpse of how she looks to others, what others think of her. Often, I'd read about Olive in another person's story and I'd think she was horrible. Then when I read a chapter specifically about her, I suddenly understood and forgave her. If only we had such insight into the souls of those around us!
It made me think about the adjustments that we all need to make as we get older and then old. It made me think of my Grandma for example in a different light. It also made me think of my own future, about the kind of old person I would like to be.
Elizabeth Strout is seriously going onto my list of favorite authors ever. Her writing here was amazing. Actually alive. Beautifully chosen words, yet it didn't read like she was trying too hard. It all described life and people's inner life wonderfully. I really felt like I knew the characters, like I understood the very basis of them. It was a nice feeling.
Have you read anything else by this author?
If you haven't read this, go do so right now, you won't regret it!
Challenges: 2010 Countdown Challenge