Olive, Again|Elizabeth Strout


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB PICK - 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

"Just as wonderful as the original . . . Olive, Again poignantly reminds us that empathy, a requirement for love, helps make life 'not unhappy.'"--NPR

NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY PEOPLE AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Time - Vogue - NPR - The Washington Post - Chicago Tribune - Vanity Fair - Entertainment Weekly - BuzzFeed - Esquire - Real Simple - Good Housekeeping - The New York Public Library - The Guardian - Evening Standard - Kirkus Reviews - Publishers Weekly - BookPage

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 us--in Strout's words--"to bear the burden of the mystery with as much grace as we can."

Praise for Olive, Again

"Olive is a brilliant creation not only because of her eternal cantankerousness but because she's as brutally candid with herself about her shortcomings as she is with others. Her honesty makes people strangely willing to confide in her, and the raw power of Ms. Strout's writing comes from these unvarnished exchanges, in which characters reveal themselves in all of their sadness and badness and confusion. . . . The great, terrible mess of living is spilled out across the pages of this moving book. Ms. Strout may not have any answers for it, but she isn't afraid of it either."--The Wall Street Journal


  • ISBN-13: 9780812996548
  • ISBN-10: 0812996542
  • Publisher: Random House
  • Publish Date: October 2019
  • Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.15 pounds
  • Page Count: 304

Olive, Again

Elizabeth Strout, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Olive Kitteridge (2008), says she thought she was done with Olive—until her beloved character “just appeared” to her again. And how grateful Strout’s readers will be that she did.

In 13 interlocking stories set in the small coastal town of Crosby, Maine, Olive travels through old age in her own inimitable style. She’s called an “old bag” by more than a few townsfolk, but she is loved by those who have, over the years, come to appreciate her honesty and complete lack of pretense.

In one story, Olive shares her fear of dying with Cindy, who cared for Olive’s late husband, Henry, and who may be dying of cancer herself. Olive reminds her that Cindy’s husband and sons, as well as Olive, will be “just a few steps behind” her if she does die. 

A few years after Henry’s death, Olive befriends widower Jack Kennison. Each has a child who doesn’t really like them, and both are lonely. They marry—to the dismay of Olive’s son, Christopher—and go on to enjoy eight years together.

Olive lives through some health scares, first totaling her car after confusing the accelerator with the break, then suffering a heart attack in her hairdresser’s driveway. When Olive is assigned round-the-clock nurse’s aides—the story “Heart” poignantly portrays Olive’s growing dread of being alone—two of the aides are especially kind to her. One is the daughter of a Somali refugee, the other is a Trump supporter, and Olive surprises herself by befriending them both.

Strout possesses an uncanny ability to focus on ordinary moments in her characters’ lives, bringing them to life with compassion and humor. Her characters could be our own friends or family, and readers can easily relate to their stories of love, damaged relationships, aging, loss and loneliness. Each phase of Olive’s life touches on a memory, real or imagined.

Olive, Again is a remarkable collection on its own but will be especially enjoyed by those who loved Olive Kitteridge. It’s a book to immerse oneself in and to share.