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Abide with Me

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  4,327 ratings  ·  701 reviews
After the tragic death of his young wife, Reverend Tyler Caskey, a New England minister, struggles to hold together his own life, his family, and his town, while dealing with his personal anger, grief, and loss of faith.
Paperback, 302 pages
Published March 13th 2007 by Random House Trade (first published 2006)
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Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth StroutAmy and Isabelle by Elizabeth StroutThe Burgess Boys by Elizabeth StroutAbide with Me by Elizabeth Strout
Best of Elizabeth Strout
3rd out of 4 books — 3 voters
Breathing Lessons by Anne TylerThe Accidental Tourist by Anne TylerPlainsong by Kent HarufTerms of Endearment by Larry McMurtryEventide by Kent Haruf
Amy Greene's Recommended Reading
20th out of 85 books — 2 voters


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Community Reviews

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Bonnie
Sep 22, 2007 Bonnie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who injoys good writing
This book was not what I expected. It was not about religion but about human nature and how we overcome some of our basic and more ugly tendencies. The pastor in this book was so excellently portrayed in his strengths and his venerability’s that I felt I could reach out and touch him.

The author did not tell you the mans wife was shallow, self-absorbed and immature but by showed her behavior in telling situations. The way her husband loved her was heart rending and I was glad the author gave her
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orsodimondo
LA COSTRUZIONE DI UN ATTIMO
Ho fatto un sogno stanotte: ero andato a trovare Elizabeth e lei mi preparava un caffè, profumato robusto dolce, pura libidine, e intanto mi spiegava che il caffè americano si fa in tanti modi, che quello che conta è la tostatura, e la mano di chi lo prepara - si va dalla risciacquatura di piatti sporchi a quello che lei mi ha offerto (e che io consumo tutte le mattine), pura delizia.
Si è messa a ridere perché ha spiegato che la stessa cosa succede con la scrittura: l
...more
Nancy
What a lovely book. Strout has a real gift for gentle prose that reveals the characters' thoughts. Utterly believable--when the church women criticize the minister's wife for her slingback shoes and not drying all the dishes, I felt as if I knew these women, their values and their habits. The teacher who turns against her student and the school psychologist who relies on textbook definitions and cannot find compassion for the little girl who just lost her mother are very real, too--but nobody is ...more
Ron Charles
Every novel is about a crisis of faith -- in one's self, one's partner, one's prospects -- but novels about religious leaders often portray crisis in explicitly spiritual terms, and that can be hell. Too often, churchy language forces the rich ambiguity of good fiction to get "left behind." Lately, though, a few novels full of Christian faith have managed to transcend sectarian piety and speak to a large, diverse audience. Each year welcomes another splendid novel into the fold: Gail Godwin's "E ...more
Catherine Henry
This is a beautiful book. It is a testimony to the enduring power of love. I want to write a review that I believe is worthy of the story and I can't seem to find the words. So, I am just going to encourage you to read it and hope that you enjoy as much as I.
Leah
In the note that follows this novel, Strout writes, "As a storyteller, I don't think it's my job to pass judgment on the people whose lives I imagine and record." Perhaps that's what I like best about Strout--her descriptions make you vow to retire the phrase "ordinary people" from your vocabulary, since each character's inner life a becomes a revelation. Also, her descriptions make you view your surroundings differently. She--and, often, her characters-love the New England landscape; it is a ch ...more
Shelah
I loved Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge, which I read earlier this year, and was eager to get my hands on Elizabeth Strout's other books. Abide with Me takes place in the same small town in Maine where Amy and Isabelle (another Strout novel) is set, and centers on Tyler Caskey, a young minister whose family has been upended by the death of his wife. His baby daughter now lives with his domineering mother, his other daughter is at home with him, but has problems he feels unequipped to handle. ...more
Ann Woodbury Moore
Thank you, Jan, for this recommendation. I read Elizabeth Strout's "Olive Kitteridge" several years ago and enjoyed it, but hadn't gone back to her earlier novels. "Abide With Me" is set in a small Maine town in 1959 and features a young, idealistic, recently widowed minister ("mimster," his toddler Jeannie calls him). Tyler Caskey is struggling to cope--with the death of his wife; with his domineering mother, who's taken Jeannie into her home; with his suddenly silent older daughter, Katherine, ...more
Cheryl
Sometimes you come across a line and it shines, like a pearl. But my, the first 2/3 of the book swam in a miasma of stunned grief. It was hard to keep one's head up and progress was painfully slow. I suppose that's fitting for a book that is about the slow healing of a pastor widowed by the death of his young wife, leaving him with his young family, and unable to cope.
Maybe it wasn't the book, maybe it was me just not giving it a proper chance and concentrating on it. Redemption arrived and the
...more
Susan Emmet
I go backwards with Strout and that's just fine. Lived with Olive and then the Burgess Boys and that was all good.
Abide - kind of a dual meaning and part of a wonderful hymn. To be with or share; to endure and support. To ask God to "stand by me." Or thee.
I think Strout nails much of Maine rural life - or any really rural life - on the head. Language, description, local characters and gossip, yearnings and jealousies and telephone party lines that give way to Old Wo/Man Rumor, are priceless and
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Sarah
This is my 4th Strout novel and I love them all. Each one was my favorite one!
Although I have my own understanding of the meaning of the word 'abide' I decided to look up the actual definition before I came to this review page. I was surprised to find that the word means two things that I interpret as being opposite in meaning! Just as aloha or shalom can mean two things, abide seems to fit this bill. Abide on one hand means "to accept or act in accordance with...." OR "be unable to tolerate (s
...more
Elizabeth Rowe
I am amazed by Elizabeth Strout's ability to write such real stories with real, flawed characters. It's almost refreshing to see that there's not a cut-and-dry good guy or bad guy, that characters are struggling with themselves and each other. This story was somewhat maddening in the complete lack of compassion that was given by the townspeople to the minister and his family, but, again, that seems to be a product of the times where you're expected to put up a front for the outside world, and pe ...more
Lormac
Because I enjhoyed 'Olive Kittridge" so much, I decided to try the author's earlier books.

I was slogging through this book until the final 30 pages, at which time it completely turned the corner for me. Tyler Caskey is a minister of a small church in rural Maine in the 1950s and his midlife crisis is brought on prematurely
by the death of his wife. Yet, throughout his difficulties he never really loses his faith in God, which may be why I began to warm to this book. I do not think I am giving an
...more
Virginia
I really thought this book would be very different...it definitely needs a different title! The story had a lot of potential, but fell flat. None of the characters really changed at all, except possibly the daughter who finally begins speaking after her mother dies, but even the tension on this is built upon through the whole book and she just sort of starts talking without any reason behind it.

A lot of really serious issues are brought up, but just sort of glossed over and almost put aside with
...more
Robert Bason
I was crazy about Olive Kitteridge (well, why wouldn't I be - it won the Pulitzer!) and I loved Amy and Isabelle too. So I was probably overhyped about reading this book - her second. It was wonderful and I never put it down. She is wonderfully kind to her characters and she needed to be with this guy - the young minister, Tyler Caskey. But, I'm afraid I wasn't so kind with him. I wanted to slap him around about every other page. "Wake up," I wanted to yell. "Look out for your wife." "Look out f ...more
Suzanne
Very moving. Very true to life. Tyler is a minister in a small town. He is a believer. His parishioners are real: gossipy; jealous; veterans of war and veterans of life. They break just about all of the Commandments and are unaware of their transgressions. His love for his daughters keeps him alive. This is a quick read; but I thought it was great.
Ilona
One of the best things about fiction is the way it can give you windows into another way of perceiving the world. This book did that for me. Even as I recognized in Tyler, the young minister who is the focal character of the book, a type of man that drives me mad in real life, I immediately cared very much that he find his way through the challenges he faces.

We soon discover he has lost his wife, though whether he has lost her to another man, to unhappiness/dissatisfaction/abandonment, or to dea
...more
Linda Lipko
Oh how I like this book!

The writing is exquisitely detailed; the characters are magnificently developed and the scenery of the New England small town atmosphere is painted with a wonderful artistic brush of an amalgamation of impressionist soft tones contrasted with a stark canvas of sharp layers of vivid, clearly defined lines.

Tyler Caskey is an intelligent, well-liked, handsome minister of West Annett Maine. Strout places him and the town folk in a late 1950's setting when even tiny rural town
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Lynne Spreen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jeanie
Is a story of a pastor of a small church in a small town that has fallen into tragedy by the sudden death of his young wife. Left with two young daughters, he is left to cope and make sense to what happened. In a town where gossip is rampant and misunderstanding are the norm, it is hard to see God working. What I found interesting is that Pastor Tyler is a fan of Bonhoeffer (A German Pastor that was martyred during WWII). He uses quotes of Bonhoeffer to compare his life and what he was going thr ...more
Cheryl
I started out (and let me make that clear - - -STARTED out) being SO disappointed in this book; after reading "Castaways", which I found to be disillusioning and sad and not very good at all (in my opinion), I was looking for something inspirational. Well, the first few chapters were anything BUT inspirational. This story, set in New England, is a slice of life in the 50's, at a time when I was a child myself. The new and beloved minister has recently lost his wife, and his life now seems to be ...more
Rebecca
This is a story about how we choose to live life. This is a story about the imperfection of love. Tyler Caskey is a small town minister, whose wife has just died. He is struggling to make it, with two young girls, and a very needy congregation. He must re learn how to love, and how to receive love before he loses everything he's worked for. Another great story by Strout. I would say that Amy and Isabelle is my favorite thus far. No one can argue her ability to form characters that are real, hone ...more
Janis Mitchell
I really liked this book - I have enjoyed all of Elizabeth Strout's books and this one was no exception. I think because my father was a minister, I could identify with a lot of this book. She makes the characters in her book so real that it is easy to see each one's flaws and also their strengths. I also could see the small town of West Annette - so many little towns in the US and the churches that serve these people. It was an enjoyable read.
Nancy
I loved this book! It is definitely not for everyone; it's very slow paced and introverted. But if you, "abide" with the story, you will be rewarded by having known Tyler, the main character, and all the people in his life. His wife called him a great coward, but as it turns out, he is full of strength. He is trying to raise his 2 motherless daughters, in spite of his own mother and the school personnel. Elizabeth Strout has a gift for taking you into the character's lives and thoughts. This is ...more
jen8998
I really disliked this tale of a minister grieving the loss of his wife. He's grieving, his young daughter won't talk, his mother is profoundly unsupportive, his housekeeper turns out to be both a murderer and a thief. You'd think his congregation would be sympathetic, forgiving maybe. Not so much in this novel. Instead, they spread unfounded rumors about his having an affair with his housekeeper, talk about him behind his back and recommend placing his grieving daughter in a special school for ...more
Jennifer
Set in 1950s Maine, Abide with Me introduces a wonderfully interesting cast of characters living in a small town, with the focus of the community being the newly-widowed minister Tyler.

Many things happen in the course of the story, some of them apparently small, but Strout's evocative prose and effortless storytelling makes the people so engaging and the reflections on their lives, loves and tragedies so thoughtful, that you eagerly read on, to see what happens to each and every one of them.

I w
...more
Lora
So, I've had this book checked out for over 5 weeks. The bookmark is between pages 70 and 71, where it has sat for at least 10 days.

I'm giving up. The story is just not catching me--about a minister in a very small town in New England in the 1950s and his daughter who hasn't spoken since her mom...what?...left?...died? It's all very mysterious. The atmosphere and writing is really well done, but the story itself is just not grabbing me.

Too bad, really, because I've been singing "Abide with me,
...more
Amy
This is Strout's second novel, although the last that I've read, and I think, my favorite. She captures small town personalities and politics so beautifully. Her ability to develop characters, both main and side characters, inspires me to work harder and write more. She writes just enough mystery and intrigue into the story line to keep you wondering, "what's really going on here?" I found myself rooting for Tyler and pushing for the book to end in a very different way than it did, but as I read ...more
Andi
Kusza, zavaros, kapkodó, nyugtalanító.Ezek a szavak jutnak erről a könyvről eszembe.
Nyilván a gyász nem szórakoztató, lélektana nem egyszerű, de ahogy a könyv meg lett szerkesztve, az túl megy azon, amit ilyenkor átél egy ember. Tökéletesen ábrázolja azonban a tipikus bigott, buta amerikai embert,és a hittől elalélt lelkészt, aki hát valljuk be, semmivel nem jobb embertársainál, semmivel nem látja jobban az élet értelmét, így nehéz elképzelni róla, hogy igazi szellemi vezető lehetne bármilyen k
...more
Kathleen
Elizabeth Strout is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers. She really captures the good and the bad in human nature and shows people as the really are... both wonderful and flawed. Her characters always seem so real, like people you may know in your everyday life. This book is a very touching story of a minister who is struggling with the death of his young wife and a daughter who is troubled. It also looks into the lives of his parishioners and their struggles. Excellent novel that I woul ...more
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ELIZABETH STROUT is the author of several novels, including: Abide with Me, a national bestseller and BookSense pick, and Amy and Isabelle, which won the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize, and was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize in England. In 2009 she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her book Olive Kitteri ...more
More about Elizabeth Strout...
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“I suspect the most we can hope for, and it's no small hope, is that we never give up, that we never stop giving ourselves permission to try to love and receive love.” 2253 likes
“You just stood up to your mother.... I should think now you could take on the world.” 6 likes
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