cover image Tell Me Everything

Tell Me Everything

Elizabeth Strout. Random House, $30 (336p) ISBN 978-0-593-44609-6

The latest from Pulitzer winner Strout (Olive Kitteridge) brings together characters from her previous novels for a masterly meditation on storytelling. After 86-year-old Mainer Gloria Beach is found dead in a quarry, semi-retired lawyer Bob Burgess agrees to represent Gloria’s son, Matthew, who is the prime suspect in her possible murder. Bob has grown close to author Lucy Barton, who moved to the area from New York City during the pandemic, and the duo spend hours walking together and chatting. After Bob takes Matthew’s case, Lucy calls him a “sin eater,” a term that came to her mind during a recent chat with Olive Kitteridge, who’s been inviting Lucy over to her retirement community to gossip about their neighbors. As Bob works with Matthew on preparing his defense in the event of a murder charge, he begins to wonder if he’s falling in love with Lucy. Though Olive doesn’t say anything, she’s been convinced all along that Lucy and Bob are developing feelings for each other. The narrative threads make for dishy small-town drama, but even more satisfying are the insights Strout weaves into the dialogue. Late in the novel, after Olive asks Lucy the point of writing stories, she responds, “People and the lives they lead. That’s the point.” Longtime fans and newcomers alike will relish this. Agent: Molly Friedrich, Friedrich Agency. (Sept.)