The Burgess Boys
By Elizabeth Strout
(Random House Trade, Paperback, 9780812979510, 332pp.)
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
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NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
"The Washington Post - "NPR - "Good Housekeeping"
Elizabeth Strout "animates the ordinary with an astonishing force," wrote "The New Yorker" on the publication of her Pulitzer Prize-winning "Olive Kitteridge." The "San Francisco Chronicle" praised Strout's "magnificent gift for humanizing characters." Now the acclaimed author returns with a stunning novel as powerful and moving as any work in contemporary literature.
Haunted by the freak accident that killed their father when they were children, Jim and Bob Burgess escaped from their Maine hometown of Shirley Falls for New York City as soon as they possibly could. Jim, a sleek, successful corporate lawyer, has belittled his bighearted brother their whole lives, and Bob, a Legal Aid attorney who idolizes Jim, has always taken it in stride. But their long-standing dynamic is upended when their sister, Susan--the Burgess sibling who stayed behind--urgently calls them home. Her lonely teenage son, Zach, has gotten himself into a world of trouble, and Susan desperately needs their help. And so the Burgess brothers return to the landscape of their childhood, where the long-buried tensions that have shaped and shadowed their relationship begin to surface in unexpected ways that will change them forever.
With a rare combination of brilliant storytelling, exquisite prose, and remarkable insight into character, Elizabeth Strout has brought to life two deeply human protagonists whose struggles and triumphs will resonate with readers long after they turn the final page. Tender, tough-minded, loving, and deeply illuminating about the ties that bind us to family and home, "The Burgess Boys" is Elizabeth Strout's newest and perhaps most astonishing work of literary art.
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"What truly makes Strout exceptional . . . is the perfect balance she achieves between the tides of story and depths of feeling."--"Chicago Tribune"
"Strout's prose propels the story forward with moments of startlingly poetic clarity."--"The New Yorker"
"Elizabeth Strout's first two books, "Abide with Me "and" Amy and Isabelle, "were highly thought of, and her third, "Olive Kitteridge, " won the Pulitzer Prize in fiction. But "The Burgess Boys, "her most recent novel, is her best yet."--"The Boston Globe"
"A portrait of an American community in turmoil that's as ambitious as Philip Roth's "American Pastoral" but more intimate in tone."--"Time"
" Strout's] extraordinary narrative gifts are evident again. . . . At times "The Burgess Boys "is] almost effortlessly fluid, with superbly rendered dialogue, sudden and unexpected bolts of humor and . . . startling riffs of gripping emotion."--Associated Press
" Strout] is at her masterful best when conjuring the two Burgess boys. . . . Scenes between them ring so true."--"San Francisco Chronicle.