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Extended Audio Sample The Burgess Boys: A Novel, by Elizabeth Strout Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Elizabeth Strout Narrator: Cassandra Campbell Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Family is the one thing that drives people apart, and then brings them back together again. The Burgess Boys follows one family through the ups and downs of life, and readers get to see whether the trials of this family will perpetuate their differences, or bring them together for the sake of their family.

Siblings Susan, Jim, and Bob Burgess grew up in Shirley Falls, Maine, and have spent their childhood trying to heal from the scars of having their father tragically taken from them in an unexpected accident. Jim works hard to outgrow his small town, becoming a successful lawyer who escapes to New York City to live and work among the ultra-professional movers and shakers. He is among the top of the corporate world, and often belittles his brother Bob, who also moved to New York, but helps the needy in his legal aid position. Only Susan stayed in their small hometown to raise her own family, regretting the distance that has developed among the siblings since growing up and going their separate ways.

This all changes when Susan's teenage son takes a prank too far and finds himself in legal trouble. Susan swallows her pride and asks her brothers for help. Who will return to Shirley Falls to support the family? The hotshot corporate lawyer or the tender-hearted brother who buries himself in the legal troubles of others? The incident draws the entire family back together, but being together doesn't mean they are unified. Old hurts and current offenses must be worked through if the family is going to work together in this trial. Will the bonds of family and love be enough to overcome the issues?

Author Elizabeth Strout splits her time between New York City and Maine, the two places that inspire her to write the most. Her first novel, Amy and Isabelle, received a great deal of attention, and was eventually made into a television movie by Harpo Studios. In 2009 Strout published Olive Kitteridge, a collection of short stories. The collection earned Strout a Pulitzer Prize.

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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Quotes & Awards

  • “Nobody does buried conflict and tortured familial relations better than Strout.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • Strout’s prose propels the story forward with moments of startlingly poetic clarity. The New Yorker
     
  • Reading an Elizabeth Strout novel is like peering into your neighbor’s windows. . . . There is a nuanced tension in the novel, evoked by beautiful and detailed writing. Strout’s manifestations of envy, pride, guilt, selflessness, bigotry and love are subtle and spot-on. Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • Strout conveys what it feels like to be an outsider very well, whether she’s delving into the quiet inner lives of Somalis in Shirley Falls or showing how the Burgess kids got so alienated from one another. But the details are so keenly observed, you can connect with the characters despite their apparent isolation. . . . [A] gracefully written novel. [Grade:] A. Entertainment Weekly
     
  • Wincingly funny, moving, wise. Good Housekeeping
     
  • With her signature lack of sentimentality, a boatload of clear-eyed compassion and a penetrating prose style that makes the novel riveting, Strout tells the story of one Maine family, transformed. Again and again, she identifies precisely the most complex of filial emotions while illuminating our relationships to the larger families we all belong to: a region, a city, America and the world. More
     
  • The Burgess Boys returns to coastal Maine [with] a grand unifying plot, all twists and damage and dark, morally complex revelations. . . . The grand scale suits Strout, who now adds impresario storytelling at book length to the Down East gift for plainspoken wisdom. Town & Country
  • 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
     
  • Strout’s greatest gift as a writer, outside a diamond-sharp precision that packs 320 fast-paced pages full of insight, is her ability to let the reader in on all the rancor of her characters without making any of them truly detestable. . . . Strout creates 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
  • No one should be surprised by the poignancy and emotional vigor of Elizabeth Strout’s new novel. But the broad social and political range of The Burgess Boys shows just how impressively this extraordinary writer continues to develop. The Washington Post
     
  • What truly makes Strout exceptional—and her latest supple and penetrating novel so profoundly affecting—is the perfect balance she achieves between the tides of story and depths of feeling. . . . Every element in Strout’s graceful, many-faceted novel is keenly observed, lustrously imagined and trenchantly interpreted. Chicago Tribune
  • Strout deftly exposes the tensions that fester among families. But she also takes a broader view, probing cultural divides. . . . Illustrating the power of roots, Strout assures us we can go home again—though we may not want to. O: The Oprah Magazine
  • “Strout conveys what it feels like to be an outsider very well, whether she’s delving into the quiet inner lives of Somalis in Shirley Falls or showing how the Burgess kids got so alienated from one another. But the details are so keenly observed, you can connect with the characters despite their apparent isolation…[A] gracefully written novel.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “[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

  • “Reading an Elizabeth Strout novel is like peering into your neighbor’s windows…There is a nuanced tension in the novel, evoked by beautiful and detailed writing. Strout’s manifestations of envy, pride, guilt, selflessness, bigotry, and love are subtle and spot-on.”

    Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • “Strout excels in constructing an intricate web of circuitous family drama, which makes for a powerful story.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “No one should be surprised by the poignancy and emotional vigor of Elizabeth Strout’s new novel. But the broad social and political range of The Burgess Boys shows just how impressively this extraordinary writer continues to develop…She’s particularly adept at subverting our prejudices, complicating our easy judgments of people we think we know…There seems no limit to her sympathy, her ability to express, without the acrid tone of irony, our selfish, needy anxieties that only family can aggravate—and quell.”

    Washington Post

  • “Strout deftly exposes the tensions that fester among families. But she also takes a broader view, probing cultural divides…Illustrating the power of roots, Strout assures us we can go home again—though we may not want to.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • Selected for the April 2013 Indie Next List
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • An AudioFile Editors’ Pick for New Titles in April 2013
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month, March2013
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2013 Washington Post Notable Book
  • A 2013 New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • A Publishers Weekly Bestseller
  • A Wall Street Journal Bestseller
  • A 2013 Entertainment Weekly “Must Read”
  • An NPR Bestseller
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