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Who is Elizabeth Strout?
From a young age Elizabeth Strout was drawn to writing things down and spent hours in the local library. In 1982, she graduate and received a law degree and had her first story published in New Letters magazine.
She rose to prominence in 1998 with her book Amy and Isabelle, adapted into a television movie of the same name in 2001. In 2009, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction with her third novel, Olive Kitteridge (who will later become an HBO miniseries). She is widely known for her works in literary fiction and her descriptive characterization.
Elizabeth Strout Books in Order:
- Olive Kitteridge — At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town and in the world at large, but she doesn’t always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance: a former student who has lost the will to live: Olive’s own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse.
- Olive, Again — 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.
- My Name is Lucy Barton — Lucy is recovering from an operation in a New York hospital when she wakes to find her estranged mother sitting by her bed. They have not seen one another in years. As they talk Lucy finds herself recalling her troubled rural childhood and how it was she eventually arrived in the big city, got married and had children. But this unexpected visit leaves her doubting the life she’s made: wondering what is lost and what has yet to be found.
- Anything Is Possible — Here are two sisters: One trades self-respect for a wealthy husband while the other finds in the pages of a book a kindred spirit who changes her life. The janitor at the local school has his faith tested in an encounter with an isolated man he has come to help; a grown daughter longs for mother love even as she comes to accept her mother’s happiness in a foreign country; and the adult Lucy Barton returns to visit her siblings after seventeen years of absence.
- Oh William! — Lucy Barton is a successful writer living in New York, navigating the second half of her life as a recent widow and parent to two adult daughters. A surprise encounter leads her to reconnect with William, her first husband – and longtime, on-again-off-again friend and confidante. They Recalled their college years, the birth of their daughters, the painful dissolution of their marriage, and the lives they built with other people.
- Amy and Isabelle — In most ways, Isabelle and Amy are like any mother and her 16-year-old daughter, a fierce mix of love and loathing exchanged in their every glance. That they eat, sleep, and work side by side in the gossip-ridden mill town of Shirley Falls only increases the tension. And just when it appears things can’t get any worse, Amy’s sexuality begins to unfold, causing a vast and icy rift between mother and daughter that will remain unbridgeable unless Isabelle examines her own secretive and shameful past.
- Abide with Me — In the late 1950s, in a small New England town, Reverend Tyler Caskey has suffered a terrible loss and finds it hard to be the person he once was. Tyler’s usually patient and kind congregation now questions his leadership and propriety, and accusations are born out of anger and gossip. Then, in Tyler’s darkest hour, a startling discovery will test his parish’s humanity—and his own will to endure the trials that sooner or later test us all.
- The Burgess Boys — Haunted by the freak accident that killed their father when they were children, Jim and Bob Burgess escaped from their Maine hometown of Shirley Falls for New York City as soon as they possibly could. Jim, a sleek, successful corporate lawyer, has belittled his bighearted brother their whole lives, and Bob, a Legal Aid attorney who idolizes Jim, has always taken it in stride. But their long-standing dynamic is upended when their sister, Susan—the Burgess sibling who stayed behind—urgently calls them home. Her lonely teenage son, Zach, has gotten himself into a world of trouble, and Susan desperately needs their help. And so the Burgess brothers return to the landscape of their childhood, where the long-buried tensions that have shaped and shadowed their relationship begin to surface in unexpected ways that will change them forever.
- The Best American Short Stories 2013 — The Best American Short Stories is the premier annual showcase for the country’s finest short fiction, guest edited in 2012 by Pultizer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout.
- The Stories of Frederick Busch — A selection of short stories from Frederick Busch, selected by Elizabeth Strout, about tales of families trying to heal their wounds, save their marriages, and rescue their children.
- Ethan Frome and Summer — A pair of masterly short novels from Edith Wharton, featuring an introduction by Elizabeth Strout.
If you like Elizabeth Strout, you may also want to see our Kate Atkinson reading order, or our guide to Elena Ferrante’s books. Don’t hesitate to follow us on Twitter or Facebook to discover more book series.