After I finished reading “Olive, Again”on Sunday, I scrolled through the book on Monday, looking for those few sentences I wanted to save. And today I scrolled through again on my search. While scrolling I also found myself reading deeply, immersed once again in the story.
When I was reading some reviews, prior to writing my first post about the book, it was pointed out that strictly speaking this was not a novel but rather a group of inter-related short stories as were some of her other books. I never noticed that. It doesn’t feel that way to me at all.
I did find the passage I wanted to save –
“and he thought: My soul is aching.
And it came to him then that it should never be taken lightly, the essential loneliness of people, that the choices they made to keep themselves from that gaping darkness were choices that required respect. “ (Olive, Again – Elizabeth Strout)
Wow – hit me like a ton of bricks. Yes. And that’s what this book is about, that essential loneliness.
So much in this book resonated for me. (resonated with me?). It had me jumping up and consulting other books of Ms. Strout. There is a theme of the quality of light throughout the book, particularly the light of February. That made me search through my own writings because the quality of light is a theme in my own writing. I found the poem, mine was about the light of November and December – and you know what? It is a damn fine piece of writing, I’m proud of it. (You can read it here.)
Maybe Olive, Again isn’t all that and a bag of chips; maybe it is just my mood or frame of mind that has me so susceptible to content. I don’t know but it has my brain buzzing.
It also has planted in my mind that I must go back and reread other books – like “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry” by Gabrielle Zevin. Yes, I think I shall do that…