Not many books can boast that they are both the winner of the Pulitzer Prize and an endorsement from O: The Oprah Magazine! The Pulitzer jury called the eponymous character of Olive Kitteridge (Random House, $14) “blunt, flawed, and fascinating”; Oprah called Olive, naturally, “deeply empathetic.” I’m not sure that I would like to have Olive in my family—she may be a little too cantankerous—but I would enjoy spending an hour having coffee with her once a week. A well-seasoned Maine crone, she’s direct and to the point more often than she should be, but her perceptions are sometimes funny and usually accurate, and they can also be deeply heartfelt. Elizabeth Strout said she chose the form of thirteen interconnected stories because Olive was such a strong personality that she would overpower a novel. In these stories Olive occasionally appears as a bit player, but wherever she was, I wanted more of her.
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