The Guardian: 'Oh man, she's back': Elizabeth Strout on the return of Olive Kitteridge

There is a moment in Olive, Again, the eagerly awaited follow-up to Olive Kitteridge , Elizabeth Strout’s best-seller of 2008, in which the novelist’s virtuosity is on full display. Kitteridge, an elderly widow by now and still living in Maine, spots a former pupil in a diner … and approaches her to revive the connection. In the exchange that follows, one becomes aware of Strout’s sympathetic range…. ‘That was the first story that I wrote for Olive, Again,’ says Strout, cheerfully. ‘She just showed up and I saw her nosing her car into the marina; and I thought: Oh man, she’s back.’ She laughs with pure joy.
— Emma Brockes, The Guardian
Emma Brockes, "'Oh man, she's back': Elizabeth Strout on the return of Olive Kitteridge," The Guardian, October 19, 2019.

Entertainment Weekly: Master Class: EW puts Ann Patchett and Elizabeth Strout in conversation

They’re two of the most decorated women in modern American letters: Elizabeth Strout, the Pulitzer Prize-winning maestro of Maine … and Ann Patchett, whose lauded catalog includes the best-sellers Bel Canto and Commonwealth.

But on a bright fall morning in New York, they were just two old friends catching up to talk about their latest works — Olive, Againand The Dutch House, respectively — what they’re reading, and why you won’t find them on Instagram.
— Leah Greenblatt, Yahoo! Entertainment
Leah Greenblatt, “Master Class: EW puts Ann Patchett and Elizabeth Strout in conversation,” Entertainment Weekly, October 15, 2019.

LA Review of Books: Aging Gently, Messily: On Elizabeth Strout’s “Olive, Again”

The sense of community that pervades Strout’s writing feels even more expansive when her novels converge, when the various Maines she has depicted with exquisite specificity turn out to be the same. It’s as if Strout is telling her readers that her mission in writing these books has been singular: to portray in luminous detail the messy, secretive, consequential lives of people in a small town.
— Jonathan Vatner, Los Angeles Review of Books
Jonathan Vatner, “Aging Gently, Messily: On Elizabeth Strout’s ‘Olive, Again’,” Los Angeles Review of Books, October 16, 2019.

Boston Globe: A magnificent achievement

It is precisely the complicated mixture of emotions she inspires that makes Olive such an endlessly fascinating and irresistibly endearing heroine. “Olive, Again” is bleaker, sadder, more achingly beautiful than its predecessor, and a magnificent achievement on its own terms.
— Priscilla Gilman, Boston Globe
Priscilla Gilman, “In ‘Olive, Again,’ Elizabeth Strout’s beloved character gets better with age,” Boston Globe, October 10, 2019.

Wall Street Journal: Life Without Illusions in Crosby, Maine

[T]he raw power of Ms. Strout’s writing comes from these unvarnished exchanges, in which characters reveal themselves in all of their sadness and badness and confusion.… The great, terrible mess of living is spilled out across the pages of this moving book. Ms. Strout may not have any answers for it, but she isn’t afraid of it either.
— Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal
Sam Sacks, “Fiction: Life Without Illusions in Crosby, Maine,” Wall Street Journal, Oct. 11, 2019.