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Insightfully written short stories weave together to make a fascinating picture of one woman and a variety of people living in a small town in costal Maine. Haunting, sad, mysterious and sometimes hopeful. This resulting novel makes you stop and think. Heart breaking one minute and funny the next. Definitely one of the best character studies I've read in years. The narrator, Sandra Burr handles the accents well and keeps the pace of the reading upbeat and engaging. Listening is like piecing together a puzzle as each story adds another angle or bit of information. Worth the effort.
40 of 42 people found this review helpful
These short stories, which collectively form a meditation on aging and connection (or disconnection) and love, are linked by shared characters (especially Olive Kittredge, who appears in all of them). They are set in a small town in Maine, and at times you can feel the salt in the air. Some of the characters are more compelling than others, but Olive is the most memorable: complicated and frustrating and ultimately wise and appealing. This is not a novel but rather a "novel in stories," a format that turns out to feel very different from a novel. In some ways it's the best of both worlds: you experience the vignettes, the moments in time, that constitute the modern short story--but also have some sense of the wider context in which these episodes are occurring.
The reading was generally good, though I did feel annoyed by the slow, halting Maine (?) cadence that the narrator used with some characters. I noticed it less over time, fortunately.
If you like modern short stories of the New Yorker type but also like more meaty novels, I'd recommend this book. I don't think I'll be forgetting the character of Olive anytime soon, and I'm grateful to have known her in the (audible) pages of this book.
53 of 57 people found this review helpful