I'm about halfway through Olive Kitteridge and I love it. The stories are all so quietly moving, illustrating these relationships and small currents of change that run through them. I wanted to write here though, because I just finished "Winter Concert", which is by far my favorite so far.
The picture of an elderly couple is painted with such care and tenderness. A lifetime together has made the two of them comfortable in their place with each other, augmented by the awareness of their mortality. It's a sweet picture, but what makes the story so remarkable is how a blip can come at them in the midst of all this, tilting this world that they've fought to have a little bit on its axis, reminding us that this kind of place doesn't exist without hardwork and years of trials. It's a won effort. And even though it isn't easily dismantled, nonetheless, it doesn't make them immune to hurt. An entire history of a time when their relationship wasn't so easy and wasn't so perfect and beautiful is encapsulated in this moment, this revealed past. Names aren't named, but we get a sense of what must have been a rough period in their lives together, something they've had to get through to be where they are now. The anguish it must have caused them at the time. There is nothing as poignant as the moment where he says, "Oh, Janie... I've made you so sad." (pg. 138). It is a line that is so full of sorrow in a world that has been so beautiful and perfect up until now, and you get the sense that he has tried so hard to make her happy to atone for past mistakes, to love her, and that this moment where he has disappointed her is a regret he can't abide by.
I loved this story. Truly, truly loved it. It made my heart ache from it's beauty. Loving the rest of the book too, but this was my favorite thus far.