Olive Kitteridge

A retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town, but she doesn’t always recognize the changes in those around her.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Olive Kitteridge offers profound insights into the human condition – its conflicts, its tragedies and joys, and the endurance it requires.

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 of Crosby, Maine, 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 her husband, 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.

(from Goodreads)

More reading

Author Elizabeth Strout’s official website

Wikipedia entry (with resume of each story)

Elizabeth Strout interview by LitHub – ‘On Inhabiting her Characters and Writing Directly’ (2021)

“Traits Don’t Change – States of Mind do” – analysis of Olive Kitteridge.

“Adapting Fragmentation” – an interesting article about adapting Olive Kitteridge (and other works) to TV-series

See also: A Companion to the Works of Elizabeth Strout (my review)


“Had they known at these moments to be quietly joyful? Most likely not. People mostly did not know enough when they were living life that they were living it.”

– Elizabeth Strout, Olive Kitteridge

See also

Olive, Again (2019)

Anything Is Possible (2017)


This site is a labor of love so many entries could benefit from more quotes, links to interesting background material, author interviews, etc. If you have material for the collection on this page, please get in touch.

Unless otherwise noted, the blurb is adapted from Goodreads.
Read more

You might also like

share this