Tillie Olsen

Tillie Olsen was an American writer known for her powerful, often autobiographical works that deal with the struggles of women, the working class, and the poor. Her most famous work, 'Tell Me a Riddle,' is a collection of short stories that reflect her concerns with feminism, social justice, and the human condition. Olsen's writing is celebrated for its lyrical intensity and its ability to convey the complexities of life with compassion and depth.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. Tell Me a Riddle

    "Tell Me a Riddle" is a collection of four short stories that explore the lives of working-class Americans. The narrative primarily focuses on a married couple who are struggling with their relationship and their identities in the twilight of their lives. As the wife is diagnosed with a terminal illness, they are forced to confront their past, their choices, and their love for each other. The book paints an intimate portrait of their lives, their struggles, and their resilience, capturing the complexities of human relationships and the harsh realities of life.

  2. 2. Silences

    "Silences" is a seminal work of literary criticism and feminist thought that explores the systemic obstacles and personal challenges that have historically silenced the voices of writers, particularly women and those from working-class or marginalized backgrounds. The book delves into the patterns of literary silence due to sex, social circumstance, and the demands of daily life that have often left these voices unheard. It combines personal reflection, historical analysis, and a passionate call to recognize and overcome the conditions that inhibit creative expression. The author argues that the loss of these voices is a detriment to literature and society as a whole, advocating for a more inclusive understanding of the literary canon and the conditions necessary for the full flowering of artistic talent.