After refreshing web pages constantly, and even once refreshing the Pulitzer website when it already said 2009 on it only to find that that page was no longer loading fast at all, I have the winner:

Elizabeth Strout: Olive Kitteridge I have not read it yet, but here is a page  I created when it was a finalist for the NBCC.  Please stop by there to share your thoughts! (link broken because I have now read it and reviewed it here)

Finalists: The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich and All Souls by Christine Schutt.

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By | 2017-11-03T17:23:30+00:00 April 20th, 2009|Categories: News|23 Comments


  1. Lisa Hill April 21, 2009 at 4:45 am

    I haven’t read Olive Ketteridge, but memory tells me that I have read something by Strout


    Consult reading journal Excel file….

    It’s called Amy and Isabelle. Gosh, it’s in Journal 3, back in February 2000.

    *pause, find the actual journal*

    Why did I only rate it 7 when I wrote that it was excellent? ‘Deceptively low-key plot used to tease out the ripple effect in relationships. Isabelle is a small town single mum who’s fabricated a dead husband and a veneer of respectability. Her teenage daughter punctures it by being caught out in a relationship with her maths teacher. Isabelle learns the hard way to stop obsessing about what other people think, finally makes friends with her work mates and tells the truth about herself. It sounds like a plot for a
    tele-movie, but it is so well done, it is a page turned. Lurking beneath the apparent banality of the plot is the possibility that the maths teacher is
    the murderer of another teenage girl and that …’

    No, no more, in case any of you want to read it.

  2. Trevor April 21, 2009 at 8:05 am

    Last night at the bookstore I passed on the option to buy Olive Kitteridge, thinking I’d get it for cheaper on Amazon. But now Amazon is not shipping it for a week or so due to, I’m sure, a sudden increased interest. Perhaps I’ll have to go back to the bookstore today and pick it up. At any rate, I am on my way to reading it.

    Amy and Isabelle does sound interesting if done well, which it sounds like it is. I guess I always passed Elizabeth Strout as a, well, I won’t lable it, but with titles like Amy and Isabelle, Amazing Grace, and Olive Kitteridge, it was easy to pass off. That’ll teach me! Or will it . . . I don’t have a taste for Anne Tyler and she’s won a Pulitzer.

  3. Trevor April 21, 2009 at 8:07 am

    By the way, Lisa, do you still keep a reading journal now that you blog?

  4. KevinfromCanada April 21, 2009 at 11:01 am

    I haven’t read OK either but it did hit my radar when dovegreyreader had it as a finalist on her entry. I’ve dismissed Strout for exactly the same reasons (I assume) that Trevor doesn’t articulate but I will attempt — it isn’t “chick lit”, it is “mature women’s lit”, and I expect to be lashed for that. Looks to me that this might be a very good book to save for a summer contemplative read.

  5. Trevor April 21, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    I did manage to get a copy of the book today. I haven’t started it, but a look at the first page suggests the prose will be pleasing.

  6. Rhys April 21, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    I have found a copy of this book today in the local library and have brought it home and I will read it this week… I will be very interested to read what you have to say Trevor….

  7. KevinfromCanada April 21, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    Trevor: Before you spoil it for her, do you think you might ask Sherry to take this one on? I don’t mean to demean you, but in this case I think I might respect her opinion even more than yours (that would be 10.0 against 9.75, but you get what I mean).

  8. Trevor April 21, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    I totally get what you mean. I had to have her read The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie to make sure she can comment well when I post my review. I’m not sure how interested she is in this one, though she has expressed some interest.

  9. KevinfromCanada April 21, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    I can only hope. I hate it when the people who should read the book decline to read it. I do note that the paperback edition in North America has moved from a boring cover to a quite sexy cover — perhaps people like you and I are a target for this book after all.

  10. Trevor April 21, 2009 at 11:33 pm

    Dang, and I got the “honey” cover. I particularly like “What will you make of her?” Adds some intrigue to what appeared to be a sort of late summer book.

    And now you’ve got us all in a bind about who should read the book first. Fortunately, while at the bookstore I bought my wife another book.

  11. Mrs. Berrett April 21, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    I hate it when the people who should read the book decline to read it

    How could I say no now?
    It should be noted that Trevor still plans on writing the entry, but he’s open to my “insights” and has given me permission to write a long response to his entry. And there I was getting excited. So much for my fifteen minutes of fame.
    Of further note, I was planning to start the book, but Trevor says he gets first dibs. Something about it being his blog.

  12. Trevor April 22, 2009 at 9:09 am

    I started Olive Kitteridge this morning on the train. So far, very very good. The structure and execution reminds me somewhat of Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio (review to come up here sometime soon).

  13. KevinfromCanada April 22, 2009 at 10:53 am

    First, my thanks to Sherry for agreeing to read this book — I do look forward to her thoughts. It might be Trevor’s blog but that is no excuse for hogging the book.

    Second, I have Winesburg, Ohio high on my “read soon” pile — I’ll move it up so we can both comment. Please don’t post too soon.

  14. Trevor April 22, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    I won’t be posting on Winesburg, Ohio for a couple of weeks, Kevin. Probably will get Olive Kitteridge review posted first since it’s timely. I’m thinking early May. I have finished the first two segments in Olive Kitteridge and enjoyed them quite a bit. I put down a book to read this one now, and I don’t really have a desire to pick that book up because it is not nearly as good.

  15. KevinfromCanada April 22, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    I am intrigued by your new gravatar, Trevor, but can’t enlarge it — could you please describe and explain? Good to see you are enjoying OK — it is on its way and I look forward to it.

    And I am glad that I have a few weeks to read Winesburg, Ohio — my working plan is to compare it to Who Has Seen The Wind, a Canadian Prairie classic by W.O. Mitchell, an author whom I not only interviewed a couple of times but also got to share a couple of dinners with. Both books have Cliff-Coles notes, so they are obviously on the high school curricula.

  16. Trevor April 22, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    I’m afraid my new gravatar is nothing special, Kevin, and it’s only temporary. When I first started blogging I took a picture of some leaves and saturated it and did some other things to it. Then, for my other blog, I made it into a banner than I never liked. The other day I got really tired of seeing my picture on here, so I decided to change it. This was the only one that had the name of the blog in it, and it’s pretty dark. So, when I get some time to fiddle, I hope to make a different gravatar, probably not of me. And now I cannot copy your (what did John call it? vorticist?) gravatar, but I’ll try to come up with something. No expectations!! This is no graphics art blog!

    I think I’ve heard of W.O. Mitchell but not Who Has Seen the Wind (which might mean I have not heard of W.O. Mitchell). I look forward to your thoughts on it and Anderson’s book.

  17. KevinfromCanada April 22, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    Thanks for the explanation, Trevor. Were I you, given where you live, I would probably appropriate a Rothko image — or if you prefer landscapes a Hudson River painter (Updike loved to write about them).

    Bill Mitchell is a folk hero where I live — probably as much for Jake and the Kid as for Who Has Seen The Wind, but both are classics in their own right. I’m interested in comparing him to Anderson because both books are set in frontier towns — Anderson wrote his several decades earlier, but of course the frontier moved west in those decades. Your Utah experience might add yet another author to the comparison — I’ll admit I can’t come up with a Utah author from memory on short notice (McCarthy doesn’t count — his books are much to adult and violent).

  18. Trevor April 22, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    Tempting for sure. I like Rothko. I remember reading a judicial opinion about his paintings and his estate, though; can I appropriate his work for my blog?? Hmmmm . . .

    I’m definitely far from finding the perfect image, so any suggestions are welcome. It’ll probably come down to a quick decision when I have a second, but if I put some thought into this.

  19. KevinfromCanada April 22, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    Given all their other problems, I don’t think the Rothko estate would chase you. Sheila and I collect art and I would give two arms and a leg to own one, but, alas, even that would not be enough. We do have a very nice Olitski that we bought a few decades ago, so I guess that will have to do. The legal mess around Rothko’s estate and his dealer was tragic — in no way does it reflect on what a great artist he was. If you asked me for my idea of a perfect, contemplative afternoon, it would be sitting in the Rothko room of the Tate Modern with the psintings he originally did for the Four Seasons in New York and then realized that they really were not suitable for a (very good) restaurant.

  20. Mrs. Berrett April 22, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    My perfect afternoon would also have me in the Tate Modern! But a different room. Though I did like the Rothko’s.

  21. KevinfromCanada April 23, 2009 at 10:02 am

    Which room, Mrs. B? There are certainly other legitimate possibilities. My most favorite painting of all time is their huge Monet water lilies. I just about fell over on a visit a few years ago when we entered that gallery and there was a huge Olitski on the facing wall and a very nice note explaining how he was one of the heirs to modernizing landscape art. I call our painting “backwash” (Olitski calls it First Love) because it looks like the water patterns you see from the stern of a moving boat. And have you seen the Rothko’s in Houston — I’ve always been interested but never had the chance to get to them on my rare visits there.

  22. Mrs. Berrett April 23, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    I stick with the Pollock’s. His work always makes me want to dance. I also enjoy Degas, but I think the room they had was a travelling exhibit.
    I’ve never been to Houston, I’m not sure about Trevor. My parents have been to Texas several times and enjoy it, but I’ve never had much urge to go there. I’m sure we’ll get there one day. Maybe if we’re lucky we can even see the Bush Ranch!

  23. Trevor April 26, 2009 at 9:09 am

    Finished Olive Kitteridge. Review to post tomorrow!

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