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Olive Kitteridge: Fiction Audiobook, by Elizabeth Strout Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Elizabeth Strout Narrator: Kimberly Farr Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2019 ISBN: 9780593150856
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (99,260 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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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 bestselling author Elizabeth Strout binds together thirteen rich, luminous narratives into a book 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
 
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 Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • 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
  • 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

Listener Reviews

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  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 B | 2/20/2014

    " A book that reminds us that our life is impacted by others and we impact those we come in contact with. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lela | 2/20/2014

    " What an interesting book and a great read. The characters were unique and sad and funny. Engaged intellect and emotions. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sharon | 2/20/2014

    " Amazing story....unforgettable primary character. I'll be thinking about Olive for years...Elizabeth Strout has written a real gem here and deserves the Pulitzer that she won for this book. Highly recommend! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Constance | 2/17/2014

    " This book was OK, but I was hoping for a little more. It didn't always hold my interest. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenny | 2/8/2014

    " This book is well written. BUT...it is so depressing! The town this author wrote about must be cursed. Every families' lifes are full of misery, disappointment, and despair. The author is able to cut straight into a couple's life, instantly bring their drama to the readers. That part makes the book very readable. But with one unhappy life to another, and to another in this coastal town. It gets kind of depressing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emma | 2/5/2014

    " Reread this book and loved it just as much as my first reading. Beautiful, quiet prose with an amazing attention to detail. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Miriam | 2/2/2014

    " I didn't think I would like it but I really did. Some of the stories made me cry and this book definitely made me think and feel beyond a typical set of short stories. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Donna | 2/1/2014

    " Depressing. Couldn't finish it. Bummed me out so I almost threw it away. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lisa | 1/27/2014

    " So beautifully written and the most honest characters I've met in a long time. LOVE this book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Loren | 1/23/2014

    " Something that I wouldn't normally read, it is a series of portraits and vignettes colored by pathos, humor, and a grudging sense of kindness. The world as seen through the eyes of Olive Kitteridge. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Brandi | 1/18/2014

    " Depressing. And not good. I read The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling before this and that was depressing too. But it was also good. Maybe I missed something, but I didn't really see the point of this book. I would not recommend it to anyone. I'm surprised I even finished it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brenda | 1/17/2014

    " An interesting pick for an award winning book. I enjoyed the writing style, and would recommend the book. The characters' lives are melancholy with Olive's terrible social skills and failures in all relationships the most depressing. I did recognize people that I have known in my life and if nothing else the piece teaches us how not to be with others. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rebecca | 1/16/2014

    " I will never forget Olive Kitteridge - the book, yes, but the main character, definitely! She is as real to me as my best friend. She breathes, laughs, curses, and says all the things "you" wish you could say! She is complex, unpredictable, and perfect! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emily | 1/7/2014

    " A good, quiet book. It was interesting to see the character of Olive illuminated across different stories about other characters in her town. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristy | 1/7/2014

    " Fast read. Liked the format and the characters. the scenarios are very real and very raw....at least to me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Serena | 1/7/2014

    " This book was far too sad to garner more than 3 stars. And it was a good book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janice | 1/6/2014

    " I like her writing style. And the development of the characters. But I wish there was more interaction between the characters. I feel like I was left hanging from chapter to chapter. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lucia | 1/6/2014

    " I truly enjoyed each chapter/short story within the covers of this book. It took me too long to finish. Life got in the way. I think Olive is either my mother or a very close relative. Great way to spend a quiet Sunday morning. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 1/4/2014

    " Quite depressing, but a good story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leslie | 1/3/2014

    " This is not your typical novel and it is certainly not a fluff read...each story within the story gave me something to think about; haunting is the one word I would use to describe this novel....these characters are the ones who you revisit in your mind over and over again.... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eileen | 12/26/2013

    " Absolutely loved this novel Olive whow "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peggy | 12/25/2013

    " Interesting character studies. A group of short stories linked together by several main characters. I enjoyed the book and would recommend it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shannon | 12/22/2013

    " Very good book. Made me think about my life and how I want to live. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sharon | 11/23/2013

    " I always read Elizabeth Strout. This book is the story of Olive's old age told in vignettes by those who knew her. Realistic, insightful writing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Juno | 11/3/2013

    " One of the best books I've read in years. I found it profoundly moving. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diane | 10/30/2013

    " Interesting link of stories of the townspeople to the main character who both inspired sympathy as well as contempt. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rebecca | 10/27/2013

    " I will never forget Olive Kitteridge - the book, yes, but the main character, definitely! She is as real to me as my best friend. She breathes, laughs, curses, and says all the things "you" wish you could say! She is complex, unpredictable, and perfect! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katherine | 10/4/2013

    " Loved this! the characters are interesting and strong "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Theresa | 9/15/2013

    " Third star trulyt because I loved henry. otherwise, not a fan of a single character or of hoer the stories sort of, almost intersperse, but not really. Olive herself is a vile, nasty main character and I found myself saying repeatedly that I don't care about her, so why am I reading?! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Di | 8/28/2013

    " She is a great writer but I did find this book a bit of a slog, mainly because there isn't a strong narrative thread. It was almost like linked short stories. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marni | 7/15/2013

    " Amazing. There is a little bit of Olive in each of us and Strout describes the human condition with humour and compassion. This book makes you think. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jessie | 6/6/2013

    " Great book layered with multiple stories, both bittersweet and inspirational. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Suzanne | 2/28/2013

    " enjoyed, but hard to get into at times. liked the ending "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy | 1/19/2013

    " This was a collection of short vignettes of characters in a small Maine town, with Olive Kitteridge as the character who threads through the whole book. I really enjoyed the writing style and I found myself responding to the characters' lives with sympathy and empathy. Overall excellent book! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Valerie | 12/27/2012

    " I really enjoyed this story, and I wanted to give this book four stars the whole time I was reading it . . . until the end!! I wanted a little more; I needed all the ends tied together. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lisa | 12/3/2012

    " So beautifully written and the most honest characters I've met in a long time. LOVE this book! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Diana | 10/2/2012

    " not finishing this. Im having to read the same paragraphs over and over. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carol | 9/12/2012

    " Really 4.5 . I read this book in 2009(?) and still think about it occasionally. One reviewer aptly likened it to a photo album. In some photos Olive is the main subject, in some she is a blur walking past but all add up to a full portrait. It is one of my favorite books and deserves a reread. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah | 7/6/2012

    " WONDERFUL!!!! 1 OF THE BEST BOOKS I EVER READ! IT'S SHORT STORIES AND THERE ARE NO NEAT, TIDY ENDINGS BUT WHAT A FABULOUSLY WRITTEN BOOK! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nicole | 5/3/2012

    " My favorite short story collection ever--usually, I'm more of a novel person, but this one had me just turning the pages, completely hooked. I love how human the characters are. I love them, period. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrea | 4/29/2012

    " Gorgeous writing! The characters of this Maine town are such a visceral experience through this author's deft hand. A brilliant character study. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Claire | 4/27/2012

    " Dark stories but true enough. Believable; although I have to hope that getting older is better than that. I gave it three stars because it did have some humor and she wrote well enough to keep me engaged. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Margaret | 3/13/2012

    " Oh Olive, you broke my heart. Such characters. The structure with very little character intersection was something I hadn't come across before. Olive as the one link was a unique devise. Still, my jury is out. She is a tough character to love. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Brigid | 3/3/2012

    " I listened to the audio book and couldn't make it past the first CD. Maybe it was just the person reading it, but I felt like I was listening to On Golden Pond without the sense of humor. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristin | 3/1/2012

    " Found this book in the lending library at Camp.... depressing in a way, but made me chuckle multiple times. I was hooked after the 2nd chapter. Perhaps it made me uncomfortable, wondering if there is some "Olive" in my parenting of my only child. Jeez, let's hope not too much! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joanne | 1/28/2012

    " Profiles of various people all revolving around Olive. Sometimes she is a sentence or two, sometimes the whole chapter. Good writing, but a Pulitzer winner? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elizabeth | 1/6/2012

    " Superb read. I highly recommend. I'm wordless when it comes to Strout. Simply waiting for her next novel with bated breath. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amie | 12/24/2011

    " i kind of want to give it one. Couldn't stand any of the characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sara | 12/20/2011

    " Spectacular collection of short stories ... Some more engrossing than others all centered around a cranky New England woman. Loved it! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John | 11/5/2011

    " Some of the stories seemed kind of pointless, but others were quite gripping. Olive becomes a much more sympathetic character as the book progresses. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marianna | 11/5/2011

    " Thought-provoking.
    This is a novel in stories. We are shown Olive through the perspective of her own and other people's lives. So thought-provoking that I'm on my second time through. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christine | 11/3/2011

    "
    Stayed with me, Olive Kitteredge is a wonderful character. Some truths about life. Worth reading. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathy | 11/3/2011

    " While the book is well written, I felt the stories were a little disjointed. I couldn't really connect with the main character. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marikka | 11/2/2011

    " Was good - somewhat somber with strong psychological themes. Olive Kitteridge is definitely an interesting character! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carol | 11/1/2011

    " Loved this book. The author delves into the hidden thoughts and emotions of life that are present and often not talked about. Insightful, well written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ginny | 11/1/2011

    " This is great story telling. Felt very true to a small New England town and it's characters. I appreciated it more the second read after hearing from my book club and their intelligent insights.
    "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jan | 10/30/2011

    " I had a hard time getting into the story as I kept wondering what I was missing. If it wouldn't have been a Pulitzer winner, I am not sure I would hae finished it. Still thinking that I may read it again to see what I missed. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lesliek | 10/29/2011

    " Not good, not bad, just whatever. Time filler "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stephanie | 10/29/2011

    " Loved. LOVED. Am sad it's over. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erin | 10/26/2011

    " Really well-written stories. Really depressing though. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 M.cornelis | 10/25/2011

    " If this is what's getting the Pulitzer nowadays, I'm sticking to the Nobels. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ruthie | 7/13/2011

    " This book was slow at times but eventually picked up the pace about half way through. Overall I enjoyed the read and found Olive to be a strange and sad personality. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shannon | 5/23/2011

    " It was pretty good... I liked the concept of one character connecting a bunch of short stories into one cohesive book. Not the best book I ever read, but it was fun. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Heather | 5/21/2011

    " Beautifully written but very depressing. Not something to read if you want a positive view of life. I commend the author's concept of having these short stories tied together through the main character of Olive. However, this book left me emotionally tired. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Roadrunner | 5/21/2011

    " Didn't get it. I think you have to be from Maine to appreciate this one. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cindywalter | 5/19/2011

    " Thought provoking, life changing, sad-a great testimony to the human condition. Loved it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sara | 5/19/2011

    " Somber yet compelling. She beautifully weaves together the lives of a small town community. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Helen | 5/18/2011

    " You didn't always love olive, but I loved this book. Great characters, intertwined plots.
    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amy | 5/16/2011

    " I don't remember much about this book, except that it was OK. It was not horrible; it was not my favorite. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Thedesertrocks | 5/16/2011

    " Not that exciting, but good lessons for Olive. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tiffany | 5/15/2011

    " This books main character was tough to like, but the book made you see things that she didn't even see about herself. At times I kept thinking, "this is going to be very depressing", but there are some great, funny moments and the ending is great and show hope in a new light. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cheryl | 5/14/2011

    " Fabulous book. Great insight into the human mind and heart. It can be hard to realize that you have to love yourself for who you are. You are doing your best. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Danielle | 5/12/2011

    " Olive Kitteridge, Gilead & Out Stealing Horses are really preparing me for getting older. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kristie | 5/11/2011

    " Not a big fan. I can't really get into books that are depressing without any sense of redemption. I realize that includes a lot of books! I gave it two stars because the writing is good, and I was interested enough in the stories to read the whole thing. But I regret it, so 1.5. :) "

About the Author

Elizabeth Strout is the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Olive Kitteridge, the #1 New York Times bestseller My Name Is Lucy Barton, and the New York Times bestseller The Burgess Boys, as well as Abide with Me, a Book Sense pick, and Amy and Isabelle, which won the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize. She has also been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize in England. Her short stories have been published in a number of magazines, including the New Yorker and O: The Oprah Magazine.

About the Narrator

Kimberly Farr is an actress and winner of numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards for narration. She has appeared on Broadway and at the New York Shakespeare Festival, the Roundabout Theatre, Playwright’s Horizons, and the American Place. She created the role of “Eve” in Arthur Miller’s first and only musical, Up from Paradise, which was directed by the author. She appeared with Vanessa Redgrave in the Broadway production of The Lady from the Sea and has acted in regional theaters across the country, including a performance in the original production of The 1940’s Radio Hour at Washington, DC’s Arena Stage.