Elizabeth Strout is Tom's guest for this edition of Midday. She is the author of six novels and many short stories; her most recent book is a series of linked tales called Anything is Possible. Linking stories together was a structural device that Ms. Strout also employed in what is perhaps her most well-known work, Olive Kitteridge. The book earned her the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction , and Frances McDormand starred in an adaptation of the story for HBO that won eight Emmy Awards.
Strout writes about people with big hearts who often live in small towns: A disgruntled former school teacher, Somali immigrants, a school janitor, a successful writer who returns to rural Illinois to reunite with her estranged siblings. We meet these and many, many more complicated and brilliant and flawed and eloquent characters who are powerfully and compellingly portrayed by a writer whose tremendous gifts of observation and explication are imbued with great magnanimity and compassion.