Olive Kitteridge

Elizabeth Strout has already won a Pulitzer Prize and accolades from every critic who has read Olive Kitteridge, but I’d still like to add my appreciation to the list. Reading the linked stories reminded me of looking at stacked transparencies of the human body, one layer giving the skeletal structure, then the circulatory system, the nervous system, layers of different organs, until finally you turn the last layer over and there’s the human form in its entirety, from the bones to the skin. Olive Kitteridge, the woman who has some link to every story, is revealed in the same way. She’s wise and stupid, amusing and dull, loving and bitchy, loyal and treacherous. She sees some things in life more clearly than anybody else, and she’s totally blind to the ways she hurts other people. I recognized a lot of people I knew in Olive, and caught a few glimpses of myself. If you haven’t read Olive Kitteridge yet, you’re in for a rare treat.

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