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Summary

National best seller

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning, number one New York Times best-selling author of Olive Kitteridge comes a “superb” (O: The Oprah Magazine) novel that “confirms Strout as the possessor of an irresistibly companionable, peculiarly American voice.” (The Atlantic Monthly)

In the late 1950s, in a small New England town, Reverend Tyler Caskey has suffered a terrible loss and finds it hard to be the person he once was. 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 5-year-old daughter, Katherine, out of the silence she has observed in the wake of the family’s tragedy. Tyler’s usually patient and kind congregation now questions his leadership and propriety, and accusations are born out of anger and gossip. 

Then, in Tyler’s darkest hour, a startling discovery will test his parish’s humanity - and his own will to endure the trials that sooner or later test us all. 

Praise for Abide with Me

“Strout’s greatly anticipated second novel...is an answered prayer.” (Vanity Fair)

“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 “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

©2006 Elizabeth Strout (P)2006 Books on Tape

Critic reviews

"Strout has crafted a harrowing meditation of exile on Main Street." ( Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Abide with Me

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wonderful

A lovely, moving and inspirational story. I felt so much affection for the main characters.

4 people found this helpful

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Newly discovered favourite writer

After reading and loving Olive Kitteridge I listened to Abide With Me and appreciated anew Elizabeth Strout’s skill in creating character and through apparently small lives revealing universal truths about the human condition. Beautifully written, an author and book to be admired, beautifully read too. Recommended.

3 people found this helpful

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Looks into the dark corners of a small community


An uneasy start as from the beginning the hairline cracks in relationships standout. A rich read and beautifully read . Offered me an insight into others faith

2 people found this helpful

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Not uplifting but engaging

I do love Elizabeth Strout's writing, and Abide With Me was quite an emotional read. The characters were so clear and well described. But not a book you'd read for any laughs, it was sad most of the way through, and I kept hoping for better for the main character, Tyler. So at least I cared about him!

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Strout at her best

A wonderfully composed and heart warming story - multi layered & multi faceted - the characters develop in a believable way

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Wonderful

At first I was a little dubious. It seemed a bit heavy and dour. I'd come from her Olive books, so was a little bit slow readjusting to this different style. I need say no more than, after my first reading (listening), I started the book again immediately, because its quality, characters and storyline had so enthralled me, I felt I hadn't done it justice the first time.

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Beautiful portrayal of people

As is her gift , Elizabeth Strout has painted such a fine and interesting portrait of a small community.
Bernadette has read it to perfection.

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Classic Strout

Elizabeth Strout never fails to delight. Wonderful story told in a sympathetic and enjoyable way.

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  • Kathryn
  • 18-10-07

Understated and powerful

This is a subtle, quiet book, but it spoke volumes to me. Although it was about a minister who was widowed at a young age, it certainly isn’t what I’d call “Christian Fiction” – in otherwords, it would be enjoyed and appreciated by anyone of any faith. Yes, there are a lot of scripture references, but they reflect what is going on internally with Tyler Caskey, not statements to the readers. I loved how this book flowed, and the way each character was fleshed out. This book has many messages, and I really fell in love with this book. It seemed a bit slow going at first, if I recall, but it hooked me and I was eager to listen to the story every day, even going to the hardback version and reading what I’d already listened to! Highly recommended.

35 people found this helpful

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  • CJ
  • 17-09-09

Excellent

I really enjoyed this book - so much in fact that I listened to it twice. Elizabeth Strout captures characters just like those we have all met, and gives the little New England town in the book a personality of its own. It's both a novel with a good story - of a minister in a small town recovering from the death of his wife and dealing with the problems of his congregation - and a thoughtful book. The ideas -- which are big ones such as the nature of God, forgiveness and redemption, euthenasia -- are all there, but in a lovely approachable way so that you can wrestle with them as much or as little as you like.

The narration was fine and unobtrusive - which is perfect for this type of book.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Penni
  • 19-02-11

Beautifully read

Beautifully read by Bernadette Dunne, I loved having this book in my life the whole time I was listening and experienced genuine grief when it came to an end.
The novel is considered and intelligent with extraordinary depth of feeling, but also a terrific slow burning tension. I greatly admire Strout as a writer. I wish Olive Kitteridge was on audible.

13 people found this helpful

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  • BJMQ
  • 05-11-12

Brilliant, one of the best every

What did you love best about Abide with Me?

I can't begin to say enough about how wonderful Elizabeth Strout is as a writer and how well done two of her audiobooks have been. Olive Kitteridge and Abide With Me will stand out in my list of top favorites forever!!!

This is first class all the way.

Any additional comments?

I urge everyone to get this book and, in fact, any book by Elizabeth Strout.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Daryl
  • 10-04-13

Quietly unassuming

Would you listen to Abide with Me again? Why?

I would listen to it again. It is a beautiful quiet portrayal about ordinary people in a small town, wrestling with real life issues like gossip and infidelity and grief. It hits you with its subtlety and does not let go.

Which character – as performed by Bernadette Dunne – was your favorite?

I liked the portrayal of Tyler, the minister. He wrestled with his faith and his calling, and Bernadette Dunne portrayed him well.

Any additional comments?

I normally don't like books of this type - a bit meandering with no BIG events... but Elizabeth Strout and Bernadette Dunne both did a great job and kept me hooked.

The only real downside to Bernadette Dunne's performance is that in narrative portions she would occasionally slip into a New England accent without warning. It was a bit confusing and distracting.

Overall, I would recommend this book. It is neither particularly deep nor particularly shallow, and all characters show growth in some way. I will read more of Elizabeth Strout's books.

5 people found this helpful

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  • bhathv
  • 21-06-16

My favorite Elizabeth Strout novel so far

I have read all her books. This one is especially touching and poetic. I could visualize every scene and landscape vividly. Her descriptions of place take me there. The characters are so real and universal. I loved how she wove in the teaching/legacy of theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer into the story. His seeming inconsistencies parallel the characters'. A number of weepy moments too when empathy and redemption break through. Beautiful.

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  • Jody
  • 17-04-16

Outstanding Novel-- Don't Miss It

After reading two other novels by Stout, I decided to give this one a try. This is my favorite of the three I've read.

As Stout writes, it is possible to see the town, the church, the farmhouse and to picture exactly how the characters look.
I will listen to this again since the narrator was perfect for this story.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Ann L
  • 26-01-22

Another strong performance

She is a great author. You don't have to be a church goer to enjoy the story. However, be forewarned that there is no functional table of contents. It lists 8 chapters of 1 hr. 15 mins. each which bears no relation to how the narration is broken up. This makes it harder to back up to clarify who is who in the congregation. I wish Audible would have a better appreciation of how listening rather than reading makes chapters & chapter breaks especially important to the experience.

2 people found this helpful

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  • D. Cole
  • 14-02-20

Quite moving!

This is the eighth novel I have read of Strout’s. In order of reading, Olive Kitteredge, As good as it gets, Lucy Barton , Olive Again, Isabelle and Amy, Burgess Boys and so I thought I would give Abide in Me a try. At first, the story seemed so sad and I wasn’t sure I could deal the pain of the situation but I was well rewarded by sticking with it. It is beautifully descriptive of the settings, accurate in the human behavior in small towns and expectations of ministers by congregations. The story moved quickly with plot twists along the way. It was an emotional experience of familiarity and hope!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Carolyn Ledwell
  • 21-04-17

Brilliant writing

It takes a powerful writer to render the ordinariness of our lives in such an engaging manner. Tyler Kasky is a good man who is shown to be so fully human, so vulnerable, yet so strong. Grief does not always make us stronger; it can break an individual. To live, to go on, is a choice. I love Strouts' writing and look forward to enjoying more of her books.

2 people found this helpful