The Pulitzers were announced yesterday and there are of course all sorts of things to be happy about. 82-year old W.S. Merwin garnered his second Prize. The editor of the Glens Falls (NY) Post-Star won for being “relentless and down-to-earth.” And, of course, as noted right here at WVFC, the brilliant and diligent Annette Gordon-Reed took the brass ring for history. All these winners and all the rest deserve the happiness of the imprimatur that is the Pulitzer, of course, but none is nearer or dearer to my heart than the news that Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge took the prize for fiction.
It was as if Olive herself– dear, damaged and barnacled character that she is (“blunt, flawed and fascinating,” the citation reads) — had come to life and been given an honor she wouldn’t know how to process. If you’ve not read this novel in stories, you might want to run out and buy it and pray for rain. The compelling story telling is matched by Strout’s brilliant pacing. She’s said she decided to write the book in stories because she thought the reader would need some relief from Olive, yet we just cannot get enough of this woman who hurts from the outside in.
Melissa Bank says it all in her NPR segment about this volume: