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Olive Kitteridge

Fiction
Narrated by: Kimberly Farr
Series: Olive Kitteridge, Book 1
Length: 12 hrs and 2 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
4.5 out of 5 stars (457 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

The Emmy Award-winning HBO miniseries starring Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins, and Bill Murray.

In a voice more powerful and compassionate than ever before, New York Times best-selling author Elizabeth Strout binds together 13 rich, luminous narratives into an audiobook with the heft of a novel, through the presence of one larger-than-life, unforgettable character: Olive Kitteridge.

At the edge of the continent, Crosby, Maine, may seem like nowhere, but seen through this brilliant writer’s eyes, it’s in essence the whole world, and the lives that are lived there are filled with all of the grand human drama - desire, despair, jealousy, hope, and love. 

At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town and in the world at large, but she doesn’t always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance; a former student who has lost the will to live; Olive’s own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse. 

As the townspeople grapple with their problems, mild and dire, Olive is brought to a deeper understanding of herself and her life - sometimes painfully, but always with ruthless honesty. Olive Kitteridge offers profound insights into the human condition - its conflicts, its tragedies and joys, and the endurance it requires.

Named one of the best book of the year by:

  • People
  • USA Today
  • The Atlantic
  • The Washington Post Book World
  • Seattle Post-Intelligencer
  • Entertainment Weekly
  • The Christian Science Monitor
  • San Francisco Chronicle
  • Salon
  • San Antonio Express-News
  • Chicago Tribune
  • The Wall Street Journal

“Perceptive, deeply empathetic.... Olive is the axis around which these thirteen complex, relentlessly human narratives spin themselves into Elizabeth Strout’s unforgettable novel in stories.” (O: The Oprah Magazine)

“Fiction lovers, remember this name: Olive Kitteridge..... You’ll never forget her.... [Elizabeth Strout] constructs her stories with rich irony and moments of genuine surprise and intense emotion.... Glorious, powerful stuff.” (USA Today)

“Funny, wicked and remorseful, Mrs. Kitteridge is a compelling life force, a red-blooded original. When she’s not onstage, we look forward to her return. The book is a page-turner because of her.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

©2008 Elizabeth Strout (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

Olive Kitteridge still lingers in memory like a treasured photograph.” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

“Rarely does a story collection pack such a gutsy emotional punch.” (Entertainment Weekly

“Strout animates the ordinary with astonishing force.... [She] makes us experience not only the terrors of change but also the terrifying hope that change can bring: she plunges us into these churning waters and we come up gasping for air.” (The New Yorker

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Touching story about the imperfect nature of life.

I was touched by Olive and definitely understood her. Loved the narration as well. Looking forward to my next read by this author.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful in all ways

The story and narration were fantastic and I did not want the audiobook to end!

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Standing ovation.

Such a wonderful book. The narrator was perfect! I will be recommending this as a wonderful read.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Depressing! Watse of a credit!

Multiple short 'stories?' Episodes in unfunny, detatched woman's life. No real beginning or end. Just overwhelmingly depressing life clips! I kept listening, thinking that there must be a story somewhere that might tie it all together. But - NO!

11 of 15 people found this review helpful

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Narrator ruined this one for me

It comes across as a YA - due to the higher-pitched VERY youthful voice. Sometimes a voice like this enhances the text but in this case it just doesn't help this book. It/she doesn't 'fit' the content of this story. I've tried several attempts to get into the story line but just cannot get 'into it'. Perhaps another narrator would be best but until then... it's going back.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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An exquisite book!

I highly, highly recommend this book. A meandering, poignant look a life. Do read it.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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extremely talented writer...BUT

it was hard to follow.... the story was tremendously well written but so convoluted and filled with completely off topic characters....I had to keep going back and rereading thinking ahead miss something... like who are these people... over and over

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

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<br />Read it and nod in recognition, weep, and laugh.

Novel or short story collection?
No need to decide. Olive, bless her or damn her, is always there, more or less.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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olive

i really liked this book. it was a little hard to
get into at first but i found olive very intriguing and in some way funny and sad at the same it. the did an. amazing job with the voices of each character
eleanor

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Not enjoyable!

I don’t get this book I guess. Olive Kitteridge is the most negative depressing character. The only take away would be not to live your life like her. I’m sure why I plugged away? Kept hoping for a pearl.

6 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-17-19

wonderful storytelling

I could listen to this for hours on end. the narration is soothing. the story feels real, raw, believable i love Olive. great characters.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • philip thomas
  • 11-14-19

great listen

loved the people, the stories, the humour, the pathos. A joy of a book, so very human.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • katemoloney
  • 10-21-19

Olive Kitteridge is someone we already know

Enjoyed every minute of these entrancing gently visceral life vignettes.
Narrator was a character in each story and through out. 10/10

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Dixie_Chick
  • 06-27-19

A brilliant read!

I couldn’t stop listening! The narrator is fantastic and brings real life to the characters, who are beautifully written in stories that are woven together to form a truly enjoyable, thought provoking, sometimes deeply sad but ultimately real and relatable story.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Monsaraz
  • 07-25-19

Deep and lovely

These stories say so much about life in all its depth and ordinariness, you recognise the truths but had never put them into words before.

The reader is wonderful, with a rich slow voice, and able to give voice to the different characters. She adds meaning to the words, and warmth, she’s absolutely right for this book

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mintychristine
  • 12-10-19

Three stars

I enjoyed the first part of this book but the last four chapters where laborious to read with no originality hence I lost interest of course I thought she was a plucky middle aged bowman but it just lacked content at the end

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  • Prof
  • 11-12-19

Faultless

Well it’s hard to find a bad word to say. Utterly riveting, writing in such a mature and insightful manner, this was a joy from beginning to end. Small town America in small vignettes linked by the marvellous creation of Olive. The narrator for this is - no word of a lie- the best ever in terms of her synchronicity with the text. Outstanding! Highly recommended

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-21-19

Great book!

I loved this book and as the writing was so beautiful being read to seemed to make it even more special

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • ej
  • 12-11-19

Thought provoking

Thank you Elizabeth Srout for such wonderful writing. I was. Unable to stop reading your beautiful book. The characterisation was superb and every page made you ponder on ones own experiences .The narration was superb.
Elaine Clarke

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  • Kath of Oz
  • 11-24-19

Brilliant

An extraordinary and beautiful portrait of a woman’s life and the people she touches — both positively and negatively — throughout it. The performance is masterful