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Summary

In her luminous and long-awaited new novel, best-selling author Elizabeth Strout welcomes readers back to the 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.

©2006 Elizabeth Strout (P)2006 Books on Tape

Critic reviews

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

What members say

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  • Overall
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wonderful

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

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

25 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

7 of 7 people found this review 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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • brenda hubbard
  • 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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Cassie
  • 15-05-17

Well done. I love this author

An exceptionally good book. Author takes everyday happenings and paints an engaging lovely story. Narrator is also very good.

1 of 1 people found this review 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.

1 of 1 people found this review 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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Joann
  • 28-02-18

Never Disappoints

Elizabeth Strout is an amazing author! I treasure all her books and "Abide with Me" is no exception. It is real. It is harsh and within it's pages we evolve in our understandings involving commitment, discernment and a love beyond our understanding. The characters come alive and I become involved with them as though I, too am part of the story. Thank you, Elizabeth and thank you, Bernadette for your excellent narration!