The B&N Podcast: Elizabeth Strout on the Return of Olive

Every author has a story beyond the one that they put down on paper.

Our guest on today’s episode is the bestselling, Pulitzer Prize winning writer Elizabeth Strout, who joins us to talk about her glorious new novel Olive, Again. Since she published her first novel Amy and Isabelle, Elizabeth Strout has been known to readers for her subtle, sidelong portrayals of what Alice Munro, praising Strout’s fiction, described as “the bravery and hard choices of what is called ordinary life.”  Novels like  Amy and Isabelle, My Name is Lucy Barton and Anything is Possible have all been populated with brilliantly illuminated characters, but one resident of the fictional town of Crosby Maine has crackled with an especially powerful charge. The star of Strout’s Pultizer winning 2008 novel Olive Kitteridge — an abrasive, unfiltered, and wincingly honest former schoolteacher — proved a voice that echoed in readers’ heads long after the last page of that wry and winning story concluded. So Strout’s return to Crosby and to this unforgettable personality in her latest novel Olive, Again, has been hailed by readers and critics alike as one of the very best things to happen this year. We were lucky enough to get Elizabeth Strout in the B&N Podcast studio for a talk about storytelling, overheard conversations, and Olive’s triumphant return.


#1 New York Times bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout continues the life of her beloved Olive Kitteridge, a character who has captured the imaginations of millions.

Prickly, wry, resistant to change yet ruthlessly honest and deeply empathetic, Olive Kitteridge is “a compelling life force” (San Francisco Chronicle). The New Yorker has said that Elizabeth Strout “animates the ordinary with an astonishing force,” and she has never done so more clearly than in these pages, where the iconic 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, the unforgettable Olive will continue to startle us, to move us, and to inspire us—in Strout’s words—“to bear the burden of the mystery with as much grace as we can.”

Explore more books by Elizabeth Strout.

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