Quotes from Olive Kitteridge: A Novel in Stories – Elizabeth Strout

Olive is special and at the same time she’s like all of us, we’ve all done things we’re not proud of, been mean and even cruel, we all fail to understand what others hold against us. Sometimes we all just get lonely and yet we get on with our life, because what else is there to do other than soldier through and try to catch happiness.
Funnily enough most of those quotes are said by other characters than Olive.

“Or maybe, he thought, returning to the boxes, it was part of being Catholic—you were made to feel guilty about everything.”

“It seems to Henry, as he takes his seat in his usual middle pew, that women are far braver than men. The possibility of Olive’s dying and leaving him alone gives him glimpses of horror he can’t abide.”

“Kevin could not abide the thought of any child discovering what he had discovered; that his mother’s need to devour her life had been so huge and urgent as to spray remnants of corporeality across the kitchen cupboards.”

“Hope was a cancer inside him. He didn’t want it; he did not want it. He could not bear these shoots of tender green hope springing up within him any longer. That awful story of the man who jumped—and survived—walking back and forth for an hour on the Golden Gate Bridge, weeping, saying that had anyone stopped to ask why he was weeping, he wouldn’t have jumped.”

“She knows that loneliness can kill people—in different ways can actually make you die.”

“They were making a film about the towers going down. It seemed to him he should have some opinion about this, but he did not know what to think. When had he stopped having opinions on things?”

“Earlier in their marriage, they’d had fights that had made Olive feel sick the way she felt now. But after a certain point in a marriage, you stopped having a certain kind of fight, Olive thought, because when the years behind you were more than the years in front of you, things were different.”

“They weren’t young anymore, this was the thing. They kept telling each other as though they couldn’t believe it.”

“And then she thought that most of her life she had been thinking: This can’t be my life.”

“She said over her shoulder, “At least I’m not prejudiced against homosexuals.” “No,” he called. “Just white men with money.”

Photo by Violetta Kaszubowska

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