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Olive Kitteridge

Fiction
Narrated by: Kimberly Farr
Series: Olive Kitteridge, Book 1
Length: 12 hrs and 2 mins
4.1 out of 5 stars (93 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE • The beloved first novel featuring Olive Kitteridge, from the number one New York Times best-selling author of the Oprah’s Book Club pick Olive, Again

“Fiction lovers, remember this name: Olive Kitteridge.... You’ll never forget her.” (USA Today)

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post Book World USA Today San Francisco Chronicle Chicago Tribune Seattle Post-Intelligencer People Entertainment Weekly The Christian Science Monitor The Plain Dealer The Atlantic Rocky Mountain News Library Journal

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. Olive Kitteridge offers profound insights into the human condition - its conflicts, its tragedies and joys, and the endurance it requires.

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

©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 listeners say about Olive Kitteridge

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uncomfortable honesty...

our heroine can be most judgemental harridan imaginable, but you cannot but love her. sublime

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Beautiful and enjoyable!

I love how the writer describes feelings and characters, a must to read. The reader made me cry and smile at different chapters. A must to read...

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I was bored

I really don't know what I think. I am always perplexed when I read a book that comes so highly recommended, I keep wondering if I missed something everyone else got. It was okay but nothing that would stay with me. Well written just not very interesting.

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Very powerful

I am in my 30ies and I enjoyed it tremendously. The performance was excellent. Though lots of people found it depressing, I think it is still life-asserting.

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  • ej
  • 11-12-2019

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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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

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  • Kerr506
  • 08-12-2019

It's a Short Story Collection

I decided to read this since there is now a sequel. I didn't realize that it is actually a set of short stories in which Olive always seems to show up and may or may not play a significant part. I most enjoyed the stories that were directly about her with her husband and son. I would have rated this higher except I didn't really like all the "short story characters," many of whom were not really all that significant to the story, or at least to the parts of the story that interested me the most. I hope that the sequel is not written this way. I look forward to the sequel and to watching the movie. I think that Frances McDormand is the perfect actress to play Olive and pictured her the whole time I was reading this. I liked the audible book narrator as her tone seemed to capture Olive's personality. Sure this book is depressing -- about aging, death and kids who walk out of your life. But I like Olive's matter-of-fact look at things.

20 people found this helpful

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  • Janine M.
  • 19-12-2019

Olive is a complex soul

I often have difficulty with books that don’t have a clear, positive protagonist. Olive is painfully oblivious to her own cold rudeness but occasionally rises to great compassion. A frustrating gal to be our protagonist. I recommend the book to those with patience for complex souls who are not always easy to be around.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Grammy Pammy
  • 15-03-2020

Loved this!

Several short stories that are either about Olive or at a minimum tangentially touch on Olive in some way. I suspect this will be appreciated much more by an older crowd. I also suspect most of negative reviews came from folks with more life in front of them than behind them.

5 people found this helpful

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  • George D. Geddes
  • 18-10-2019

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.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 28-10-2019

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!

35 people found this helpful

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  • Pegmag
  • 14-11-2019

I'm 71

Olive is 72. There were so many times when I thought...where is this going, but I'm glad I stayed. I connected with Olive. Just when I thought her story had a sad end, she gave me hope

3 people found this helpful

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  • Sherman's Mom
  • 20-06-2019

Wonderful in all ways

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

11 people found this helpful

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  • Monkey-sue
  • 08-10-2019

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

14 people found this helpful

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  • KristiC
  • 04-08-2020

Good writing and great character development but I don’t understand the purpose of the book

We read this for a book club selection. I think the author did a great job making you care about the characters and be interested in their story but there are so many characters in so many stories I kept thinking they would all tie together at the end but they really don’t. I just felt disappointed and confused at the end. I really did love so many of the characters or was at least enjoying getting to know them in their brief parts of the story but then they just go away. Olive and her family are throughout the story but not really sure why she deserves the title. Also I recommend finishing a full chapter don’t listen to a partial chapter because so many chapters introduce a new character and storyline that may be just for that chapter and if you stop in the middle and come back like I often do, I found myself having to hit rewind to remember who they were and what was going on.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Isabella Piestrzynska
  • 26-12-2019

Fabulously wise and rich

A profound and beautifully written exploration of frailty, forgiveness, yearning, cruelty, rage, madness, and, mostly, love. Just astounding,

2 people found this helpful

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  • katemoloney
  • 21-10-2019

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

6 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 17-11-2019

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.

3 people found this helpful

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  • philip thomas
  • 14-11-2019

great listen

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

3 people found this helpful

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  • J M.
  • 25-02-2020

Dull, dull, dull

Despite the lovely narration I found the lead character dislikeable with a story that goes nowhere.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Susie Wiggins
  • 13-02-2020

Jumps around too much

I found this book rather miserable for my tastes. I know it has had good reviews, but it was just now my cup of tea, too gloomy. Plus, it jumps around from story to story like the author had just taken a bunch of short stories (at the end they admit were sold to various magazines and newspapers), then tried to make them all work in one book for one story. I just didn’t get it; characters came and went with no rhyme or reason. Thank goodness I did it by audible otherwise I would not have finished it. The speaker was very good though. Sorry, just didn’t really like this one.

2 people found this helpful

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  • S. Ball
  • 14-01-2020

But disappointing

Really good expressive writing and read well, but no point to the story and kept wishing for the end.....

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mintychristine
  • 10-12-2019

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

2 people found this helpful

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  • Dixie_Chick
  • 27-06-2019

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.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Dan N
  • 06-02-2020

Didn’t want it to end

Wow. Occasionally, and only very occasionally, I’ll come across a book that I just don’t want to end. This was one of those books. I also bought the kindle version too but found myself listening to the audible version more, Kimberly Farr did an amazing job of performing it and really brought the story to life. I would highly recommend this book and I can’t wait to listen to its sequel ‘Olive, Again’

1 person found this helpful

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  • Prof
  • 12-11-2019

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

1 person found this helpful