Amy and Isabelle: A Novel

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In her stunning first novel, Amy and Isabelle, Elizabeth Strout evokes a teenager's alienation from her distant mother—and a parent's rage at the discovery of her daughter's sexual secrets. In most ways, Isabelle and Amy are like any mother and her 16-year-old daughter, a fierce mix of love and loathing exchanged in their every glance. That they eat, sleep, and work side by side in the gossip-ridden mill town of Shirley Falls only increases the tension. And just when it appears things can't get any worse, Amy's sexuality begins to unfold, causing a vast and icy rift between mother and daughter that will remain unbridgeable unless Isabelle examines her own secretive and shameful past.
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#1 New York Times bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout continues the life of her beloved Olive Kitteridge, a character who has captured the imaginations of millions of readers.
 
Prickly, wry, resistant to change yet ruthlessly honest and deeply empathetic, Olive Kitteridge is “a compelling life force” (San Francisco Chronicle). The New Yorker has said that Elizabeth Strout “animates the ordinary with an astonishing force,” and she has never done so more clearly than in these pages, where the iconic Olive struggles to understand not only herself and her own life but the lives of those around her in the town of Crosby, Maine. Whether with a teenager coming to terms with the loss of her father, a young woman about to give birth during a hilariously inopportune moment, a nurse who confesses a secret high school crush, or a lawyer who struggles with an inheritance she does not want to accept, the unforgettable Olive will continue to startle us, to move us, and to inspire moments of transcendent grace.

Advance praise for Olive, Again

“There’s no simple truth about human existence, Strout reminds us, only wonderful, painful complexity. ‘Well, that’s life,’ Olive says. ‘Nothing you can do about it.’ Beautifully written and alive with compassion, at times almost unbearably poignant. A thrilling book in every way.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Strout’s stories form a cohesive novel, both sequel and culmination, that captures, with humor, compassion, and embarrassing detail, aging, loss, loneliness, and love. Strout again demonstrates her gift for zeroing in on ordinary moments in the lives of ordinary people to highlight their extraordinary resilience.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Love, loss, regret, the complexities of marriage, the passing of time, and the astonishing beauty of the natural world are abiding themes. . . . Unmissable.”—Booklist (starred review)
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE • THE EMMY AWARD–WINNING HBO MINISERIES STARRING FRANCES MCDORMAND, RICHARD JENKINS, AND BILL MURRAY

In a voice more powerful and compassionate than ever before, New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Strout binds together thirteen rich, luminous narratives into a book with the heft of a novel, through the presence of one larger-than-life, unforgettable character: Olive Kitteridge.

At the edge of the continent, Crosby, Maine, may seem like nowhere, but seen through this brilliant writer’s eyes, it’s in essence the whole world, and the lives that are lived there are filled with all of the grand human drama–desire, despair, jealousy, hope, and love.

At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town and in the world at large, but she doesn’t always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance: a former student who has lost the will to live: Olive’s own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse.

As the townspeople grapple with their problems, mild and dire, Olive is brought to a deeper understanding of herself and her life–sometimes painfully, but always with ruthless honesty. Olive Kitteridge offers profound insights into the human condition–its conflicts, its tragedies and joys, and the endurance it requires.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY
People • USA Today • The Atlantic • The Washington Post Book World • Seattle Post-Intelligencer • Entertainment Weekly • The Christian Science Monitor • San Francisco Chronicle • Salon • San Antonio Express-News • Chicago Tribune • The Wall Street Journal

“Perceptive, deeply empathetic . . . Olive is the axis around which these thirteen complex, relentlessly human narratives spin themselves into Elizabeth Strout’s unforgettable novel in stories.”—O: The Oprah Magazine

“Fiction lovers, remember this name: Olive Kitteridge. . . . You’ll never forget her. . . . [Elizabeth Strout] constructs her stories with rich irony and moments of genuine surprise and intense emotion. . . . Glorious, powerful stuff.”—USA Today

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Elizabeth Strout’s The Burgess Boys.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Vintage
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Published on
Dec 16, 2003
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9781400077731
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Family Life / General
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / Women
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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From the highly acclaimed author of Don’t Try to Find Me and This is Not Over comes the unforgettable, harrowing story of a young broadcast journalist who discovers a mysterious diary from a female broadcaster in 1991 featuring startling—and frightening—parallels to her own life.

You might be wondering what a diary from 1991 has to do with you. You're about to find out. Those who don't learn from the past are doomed to repeat it…

Twenty-four-year-old Cheyenne Florian has just received her dream job offer. On the strength of a few vlogs, she’s recruited to be the new correspondent on the recently hatched Independent News Network, INN.

With the slogan “Because independent thinking is the only way out,” INN has branded itself as innovative. Yet once Cheyenne joins the INN team, she finds age-old dynamics in play. Some of the female staff resent her meteoric rise, while a number of the men are only too happy to welcome her. Then there’s the diary left for her anonymously, written in 1991 by a female broadcaster named Elyse Rohrbach. The mysterious diary is accompanied by a note, urging Cheyenne to learn from the past. She wants to believe it’s intended as inspiration and friendly advice, or at most, a warning. But as disturbing—and increasingly dangerous—parallels begin to emerge, she starts to wonder if something more sinister is at work.

It’s almost as if someone is engineering the similarities in Cheyenne’s life to match those from Elyse’s past, like she’s a pawn in a very twisted game. But Cheyenne is determined to rewrite the rules and play her own game. Though they’re separated by more than twenty-five years, Elyse and Cheyenne are forced to learn the same lesson: Nothing is more threatening than a woman who doesn’t yet know her own power…

 

Every day Leila al-Ghani spends in Mosul is a reminder of what her life once was. Before the war, she was the daughter of one of the city's finest families. She was encouraged by her parents to get an education, to think like a modern woman. But now, with Mosul crumbling around her, she is expected to strictly adhere to traditions, to dress modestly with the hijab covering her hair, and to be arranged in marriage.

Disobeying her domineering father and secretly taking a job as a translator at an American military base, Leila's beliefs are forever challenged when she meets a host of new people with different perspectives on the war--and the world. But it is Leila's friendship with Major James Cartwright that will test her courage in profound ways. And when she discovers those she loves are deeply entangled in the most violent, controversial aspects of the war, where she places her loyalties could cost Leila her life.

The Nightingale is a riveting debut that offers a rare glimpse into war-torn Iraq--where a spirited young woman must choose between honoring the customs of the past and her own hopes for the future. . .

"Morgana Gallaway has crafted a powerful story of one Iraqi woman's fight to keep her dreams alive even as her family, hometown, and country are being destroyed. There's a lot of truth in this work of fiction." --Laura Fitzgerald, author of Veil of Roses

"Gallaway's debut deftly captures a young woman's lonely battle for survival in a family and country abruptly shattered by war. The Nightingale is a poignant tale of family loyalty, taboo love and the ravages of war." --Shobhan Bantwal, author of The Dowry Bride
NATIONAL BESTSELLER

In her luminous and long-awaited novel, bestselling author Elizabeth Strout welcomes readers back to the archetypal, lovely landscape of northern New England, where the events of her first novel, Amy and Isabelle, unfolded. In the late 1950s, in the small town of West Annett, Maine, a minister struggles to regain his calling, his family, and his happiness in the wake of profound loss. At the same time, the community he has served so charismatically must come to terms with its own strengths and failings—faith and hypocrisy, loyalty and abandonment—when a dark secret is revealed.

Tyler Caskey has come to love West Annett, “just up the road” from where he was born. The short, brilliant summers and the sharp, piercing winters fill him with awe—as does his congregation, full of good people who seek his guidance and listen earnestly as he preaches. But after suffering a terrible loss, Tyler finds it hard to return to himself as he once was. He hasn’t had The Feeling—that God is all around him, in the beauty of the world—for quite some time. He struggles to find the right words in his sermons and in his conversations with those facing crises of their own, and to bring his five-year-old daughter, Katherine, out of the silence she has observed in the wake of the family’s tragedy.

A congregation that had once been patient and kind during Tyler’s grief now questions his leadership and propriety. In the kitchens, classrooms, offices, and stores of the village, anger and gossip have started to swirl. And in Tyler’s darkest hour, a startling discovery will test his congregation’ s humanity—and his own will to endure the kinds of trials that sooner or later test us all.

In prose incandescent and artful, Elizabeth Strout draws readers into the details of ordinary life in a way that makes it extraordinary. All is considered—life, love, God, and community—within these pages, and all is made new by this writer’s boundless compassion and graceful prose.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Elizabeth Strout’s The Burgess Boys.

Praise for Abide with Me
 
“Strout’s greatly anticipated second novel . . . is an answered prayer.”—Vanity Fair
 
“Superb . . . a shimmering tale of loss, faith, and human fallibility . . . You feel yourself in the hands of a master storyteller.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
 
“Deeply moving . . . In one beautiful page after another, Strout captures the mysterious combinations of hope and sorrow. She sees all these wounded people with heartbreaking clarity, but she has managed to write a story that cradles them in understanding and that, somehow, seems like a foretaste of salvation.”—The Washington Post
 
“This lovely second novel confirms Strout as the possessor of an irresistibly companionable, peculiarly American voice: folksy, poetic, but always as precise as a shadow on a brilliant winter day.”—The Atlantic Monthly
 
“Graceful and moving . . . The pacing of Strout’s deeply felt fiction about the distance between parents and children gives her work an addictive quality.”—People (four stars)
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Includes Elizabeth Strout’s never-before-published essay about the origins of The Burgess Boys

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • NPR • Good Housekeeping

Elizabeth Strout “animates the ordinary with an astonishing force,” wrote The New Yorker on the publication of her Pulitzer Prize–winning Olive Kitteridge. The San Francisco Chronicle praised Strout’s “magnificent gift for humanizing characters.” Now the acclaimed author returns with a stunning novel as powerful and moving as any work in contemporary literature.
 
Haunted by the freak accident that killed their father when they were children, Jim and Bob Burgess escaped from their Maine hometown of Shirley Falls for New York City as soon as they possibly could. Jim, a sleek, successful corporate lawyer, has belittled his bighearted brother their whole lives, and Bob, a Legal Aid attorney who idolizes Jim, has always taken it in stride. But their long-standing dynamic is upended when their sister, Susan—the Burgess sibling who stayed behind—urgently calls them home. Her lonely teenage son, Zach, has gotten himself into a world of trouble, and Susan desperately needs their help. And so the Burgess brothers return to the landscape of their childhood, where the long-buried tensions that have shaped and shadowed their relationship begin to surface in unexpected ways that will change them forever.
 
With a rare combination of brilliant storytelling, exquisite prose, and remarkable insight into character, Elizabeth Strout has brought to life two deeply human protagonists whose struggles and triumphs will resonate with readers long after they turn the final page. Tender, tough-minded, loving, and deeply illuminating about the ties that bind us to family and home, The Burgess Boys is Elizabeth Strout’s newest and perhaps most astonishing work of literary art.

Praise for The Burgess Boys

“What truly makes Strout exceptional . . . is the perfect balance she achieves between the tides of story and depths of feeling.”—Chicago Tribune

“Strout’s prose propels the story forward with moments of startlingly poetic clarity.”—The New Yorker

“Elizabeth Strout’s first two books, Abide with Me and Amy and Isabelle, were highly thought of, and her third, Olive Kitteridge, won the Pulitzer Prize in fiction. But The Burgess Boys, her most recent novel, is her best yet.”—The Boston Globe
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