Elizabeth Strout is an American author best known for her critically acclaimed literary fiction exploring the complexity of human behavior.
Her writing career began back in 1998 with the publication of her debut novel, Amy and Isabelle. It was an instant bestseller, and since then, Strout has become one of the most celebrated novelists of the 21st century.
Her unique writing style and masterful storytelling have earned her numerous awards and accolades over the years, including the Pulitzer Prize for her New York Times bestseller, Olive Kitteridge.
So, if you’re new to Elizabeth Strout’s work and you’re looking for some TBR inspiration, I recommend giving her books a try. Read on to find out more about her work, and get started on your reading journey today!
Elizabeth Strout’s Books in Order
Elizabeth Strout has written nine novels to date, and each of them has become a critically acclaimed bestseller.
But knowing where to begin with this legendary author’s work isn’t easy. So in this post, I’ll list all of Strout’s books in reading and publication order, along with a summary of each one.
|Sr. No.||Title||Publication Date||Print Length||Publisher||Where to Buy|
|1||Olive Kitteridge||March 25, 2008||288 pages||Random House||Amazon|
|2||Olive, Again||November 3, 2020||320 pages||Random House Trade Paperbacks||Amazon|
|3||My Name Is Lucy Barton||January 12, 2016||208 pages||Random House||Amazon|
|4||Anything Is Possible||March 2, 2018||272 pages||PENGUIN||Amazon|
|5||Oh, William!||April 26, 2022||256 pages||Random House Publishing Group||Amazon|
|6||Lucy by the Sea||September 20, 2022||304 pages||Random House||Amazon|
|7||Amy and Isabelle||January 1, 1999||303 pages||Random House||Amazon|
|8||Abide with Me||March 14, 2006||304 pages||Random House||Amazon|
|9||The Burgess Boys||April 8, 2014||352 pages||Random House Trade Paperbacks||Amazon|
The Olive Kitteridge Books
The first installment in Strout’s two-part Olive Kitteridge series earned the author the coveted Pulitzer Prize, and the novel was later turned into an Emmy Award-winning TV show produced by HBO.
Each book is a collection of narratives that form a whole. That whole is the fascinating, complex, and unforgettable Olive Kitteridge. Olive is an ordinary woman with an extraordinary story to tell, and it’s guaranteed to make readers laugh and cry in equal measure.
The Olive Kitteridge Books in Reading and Publication Order
The books in the Olive Kitteridge series can be read as standalone. Still, to get the most out of the series, it’s best to read them in the order they were published, listed below.
1. Olive Kitteridge (2008)
Olive Kitteridge is a retired school teacher who lives in the small town of Crosby, perched along the rugged coast of Maine.
She’s a woman of great complexity, both self-centered and compassionate, and deeply affected by the changing world she finds herself living in.
Like many of us, Olive believes she is, and always has been, right about everything. But those around her see it a different way. And so, in this novel, we learn about the many different sides of this endearing woman’s personality, told by a cast of equally fascinating characters, including her friends, family, and neighbors.
2. Olive, Again (2019)
In Olive, Again, we revisit the multifaceted Olive Kitteridge as she navigates the ups and downs of growing older and the changes that the passage of time brings.
And things have certainly changed in the small town of Crosby. Olive is still there, just like she always has been, but now, she has a new life with a new husband, and her embittered son is struggling to accept the arrangement.
And so, this is the continuation of a story of a lifetime about one woman’s shortcomings and triumphs in all of her flawed human glory.
The Amgash Books
Amgash is a tiny, isolated farming community in Illinois and the home of the series’s poverty-stricken protagonist, Lucy Barton.
The books tell the joyful and heartbreaking stories of Lucy’s life and the lives of her friends, family, and neighbors. And just like Elizabeth Strouts’s Olive Kitteridge novels, these tales offer fascinating character studies that explore the messy reality of the human condition.
The Amgash Books in Reading and Publication Order
The books in the Amgash series can be read as standalone, but hence to get the most out of the series, it’s best to read them in the order they were published, listed below.
1. My Name Is Lucy Barton (2016)
When we first meet Lucy Barton in the series debut, she’s recovering in a hospital in New York after an operation. When she comes around from the anesthesia, she opens her eyes to find her estranged mother at her bedside.
After years of separation, Lucy’s painful memories of her troubled childhood in rural Illinois come flooding back. After leaving her isolated hometown behind, Lucy has cultivated a brand new life for herself in the big city. Still, her mother’s arrival leaves her questioning her past and her future in a way she never has before.
2. Anything Is Possible (2017)
It’s been seventeen years since Lucy left the remote farming community of Amgash behind, and now, she’s finally returned to visit the family she once knew.
This captivating collection of short stories explores the interconnected lives of those who stayed behind in the dusty rural town as Lucy paves the bridges of reconciliation with her long-lost siblings.
3. Oh, William! (2021)
Recently widowed Lucy Barton is coming to terms with her new life alone. At sixty-three years old, her two daughters have long flown the nest, and now, she’s left with nothing but her (albeit successful) writing career in the unforgiving city of New York.
But in an unexpected twist of fate, she reconnects with her first husband, the father of her children, William. Together, Lucy and William take a journey into the past as they recall their early years in love, the birth of their daughters, and the painful unraveling of their once-happy marriage.
4. Lucy by the Sea (2022)
It’s March 2020, and with each passing day, the news of an emerging global health crisis grows ever more ominous. Talk of lockdowns circulates, and there’s a palpable sense of fear across the streets of New York.
And so, Lucy’s ex-husband William begs her to leave the city and go with him to a quaint little house he’s rented along the rugged coast of Maine. After all, if they’re going to isolate, they may as well do it somewhere with fresh air, plenty of space, and stunning sea views.
Thinking it will be just a couple of weeks, Lucy reluctantly agrees to join him. But as the long days tick by, it becomes clear that the pandemic won’t be over any time soon, and their unusual arrangement begins to feel rather permanent.
And so, as the outside world appears to fall apart, Lucy and William slowly adjust to isolation together as they revisit their shared past and discover a new hope for the future.
Elizabeth Strout’s Standalone Novels
Alongside her award-winning series above, Elizabeth Strout has also penned four bestselling standalone novels.
Here they are in the order they were published.
1. Amy and Isabelle (1998)
Strout’s debut novel tells the story of a troubled mother and daughter, Amy and Isabelle, who live together in the close-knit, working-class town of Shirley Falls.
At 16 years old, Amy is blossoming into a young woman. Still, as her sexuality unfolds, her mother struggles to come to terms with the realities of lost innocence.
2. Abide with Me (2006)
In the late 1950s, in a small New England town, Reverend Tyler Caskey is sinking under the weight of grief after a family tragedy tears his and his young daughter’s lives apart.
In the aftermath of his terrible loss, he struggles to be the man and the reverend he once was. Every sermon feels disjointed and strained, and he can no longer lead his congregation in a way that serves God.
He’s losing his faith, but his darkest hour is yet to come, as a shocking revelation tests the once strong and supportive congregation to its limits.
3. The Burgess Boys (2013)
When they were small, Jim and Bob Burgess lost their father in a horrifying freak accident that tore their family apart. And so, as soon as they could, they escaped their hometown of Shirley Falls and headed for the bright lights of the Big Apple, hoping to leave the dark cloud of grief behind them.
But one sibling, Susan, stayed behind, carving out a life for herself in the shadows of tragedy. And now, with her teenage son in trouble, Susan needs her brothers’ help.
And so, Jim and Bob make the journey back to the place of their painful memories to uncover the long-forgotten bonds of family they thought were lost forever.
If you love fascinating character studies and tales of real and raw human emotion, you’ll adore Elizabeth Stroud’s award-winning books.
Are you already a fan of Stroud’s work? If so, I’d love to hear your reviews and recommendations. Could you drop me a comment in the box below?