Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Random House, New York, 2008
Based in the town of Crosby, Maine, these thirteen stories are bound together by one strong, cantankerous character, Olive Kitteridge. Beautifully written, uncluttered and honest Strout writes of the kind husband, the angry son, neighbors with a son in prison for murder, a young man struggling with suicide. Always, Olive is somewhere in the mix, loud and obstreperous, unforgettable and the glue that holds it all together. The whole world is in this little town. This is a lovely collection of stories filled with sadness and joy, filled with life.
Sometimes, like now, Olive had the sense of just how desperately hard every person in the world was working to get what they needed. For most it was a sense of safety, in the sea of terror that life increasingly became. People thought love would do it, and maybe it did. But even if, thinking of the smoking Anne, it took three different kids, with three different fathers, it was never enough, was it? From page 211