The next book to be featured on the Jo Whiley Radio 2 Book Club will be Olive, Again, the newest novel from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Strout. It was released on 31 October and Elizabeth will be on the show on Monday 18 November.
We have an exclusive extract available for you to read.
Olive, Again follows the blunt, contradictory yet deeply loveable Olive Kitteridge as she grows older, navigating the second half of her life as she comes to terms with the changes – sometimes welcome, sometimes not – in her own existence and in those around her.
Olive adjusts to her new life with her second husband, challenges her estranged son and his family to accept him, experiences loss and loneliness, witnesses the triumphs and heartbreaks of her friends and neighbours in the small coastal town of Crosby, Maine – and, finally, opens herself to new lessons about life.
Selection panel review
The book was selected with the help of a panel of library staff from across the UK. Our readers loved Olive, Again – here are some of their comments:
“This is such a beautifully written book. This novel continues the story of Olive Kitteridge – I hadn’t read the first book, but it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of this one. Olive is now in her 80s and feels like she’s getting old. She lives in Crosby, Maine and this is the tale the small town and its inhabitants as they come in and out of Olive’s life. Olive is an outspoken, plain speaking woman, who is not quite sure how her life turned out the way it did. She still mourns the death of her loving husband Henry, but hates being alone and is persuaded by a man she once knew and liked – Jack Kennison – to marry again. In a series of chapters that cover the following 6-7 years we hear of the loves and losses of Olive, Jack, Olive’s son Christopher and his family, and an assortment of equally lovely people who populate Crosby. This book is magical. Both desperately sad, but also uplifting. Can’t wait to go and search out Strout’s back catalogue.”
“I loved the characters, the writing and the plot. Elizabeth Strout is a superb writer. Olive struggles to understand not only herself and her own life but the lives of those around her in the town of Crosby, Maine. Whether with a teenager coming to terms with the loss of her father, a young woman about to give birth during a hilariously inopportune moment, a nurse who confesses a secret high school crush, or a lawyer who struggles with an inheritance she does not want to accept, Olive, Again follows the blunt, contradictory yet deeply loveable Olive Kitteridge. An excellent story by a wonderful storyteller.”
About the author
Elizabeth Strout is the Pulitzer prize-winning author of Olive Kitteridge, as well as The Burgess Boys, Abide With Me, Amy and Isabelle, My Name is Lucy Barton and Anything is Possible. She has also been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Orange Prize and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. She lives in New York City and Portland, Maine.
Tune in to Jo Whiley’s show on Monday 18 November to hear a live interview with Elizabeth.You can also see what other readers thought or add the book to your group’s reading list.
Not yet a member of Reading Groups for Everyone? Sign up now.
Planning to buy Olive, Again for your book group? Buy books from Hive and support The Reading Agency and local bookshops at no extra cost to you.