Amy & Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout

Published June 13, 2022

Amy & Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout

Book info

  • Title Amy & Isabelle
  • Author Elizabeth Strout
  • Year 1998
  • Genre Contemporary

Isabelle Goodrow has been living in self-imposed exile with her daughter Amy for fifteen years. Shamed by her past and her affair with Amy's father, she has submerged herself in the routine of her dead-end job and her unrequited love for her boss. But when Amy, frustrated by her quiet and unemotional mother, embarks on an illicit affair with her maths teacher, the disgrace intensifies the shame Isabelle feels about her own past. Throughout one long, sweltering summer, as the events of the small town ebb and flow around them, Amy and Isabelle exist in silent conflict until a final act leads ultimately to the understanding they both crave.


When I was reading Olive and Olive, Again, it was clear that although Elizabeth Strout’s books are standalone works, there are also times where older characters or places make appearances in other novels. So, I figured I should probably start at the beginning of the books and work my way through - hence Amy & Isabelle. It’s an interesting story and incredibly well written, supreme and precise observations about life and although a slow pace, you’re never bored.

The only problem with a book like this is it’s hard to end it because you’re just involved in these people’s lives, it feels like there shouldn’t really be an ending. But it does come to a conclusion and I know that we visit Isabelle again later, so their lives do go on.

Rating: 4 / 5

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