Life is an emotion that we have to live. That’s more or less what the poet Philip Larkin told a friend and the phrase echoes in Elizabeth Strout’s head. He found the meaning of his writing there. Not only in what those words can say concretely, but in the way they say it, a breath, a breath that makes even more sense of what Strout wants his writing to be: a way of communicating the experience of being there. emotion that is life; tell stories that contain that resonance, feeling, or impulse of life. Olive Kitteridge, the 2008 novel starring a cranky woman from the town of Crosby, Maine, was her greatest achievement in finding that vital thrill. It received the Pulitzer in 2009 and has sold over a million copies. The character was so strong that she returned in 2019 in the novel Olive, Again.