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The Burgess Boys [Audio]
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About the Author

Elizabeth Strout is the author of Olive Kitteridge, winner of the Pulitzer Prize; Abide with Me, a national bestseller and Book Sense pick; and Amy and Isabelle, winner of the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize. She has also been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize in England. Her short stories have been published in a number of magazines, including The New Yorker and O: The Oprah Magazine. She lives in New York City.

Reviews

"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

"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 "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 From the Hardcover edition.
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

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
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 From the Hardcover edition."


"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"
" "
"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"
" "
"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"
"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'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
"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."--Ron Charles, "The Washington Post"
" "
"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"
" "
"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"
" "
"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."
Praise for Elizabeth Strout's Pulitzer Prize-winning "Olive Kitteridge"

"Perceptive, deeply empathetic . . . Olive is the axis around which these thirteen complex, relentlessly human narratives spin themselves into Elizabeth Strout's unforgettable novel in stories.""--O: The Oprah Magazine "
" "
"Fiction lovers, remember this name: Olive Kitteridge. . . . You'll never forget her. . . . [Strout] constructs her stories with rich irony and moments of genuine surprise and intense emotion. . . . Glorious, powerful stuff.""--USA Today"
" "
"Funny, wicked and remorseful, Mrs. Kitteridge is a compelling life force, a red-blooded original. When she's not onstage, we look forward to her return. The book is a page-turner because of her.""--San Francisco Chronicle"
" "
"Deeply human . . . Though loneliness and loss haunt these pages, Strout also supplies gentle humor and a nourishing dose of hope."--"Booklist" (starred review)
" "
""Olive Kitteridge" still lingers in memory like a treasured photograph.""--Seattle Post-Intelligencer"
" "
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
"The Washington Post Book World - USA Today - San Francisco Chronicle - Chicago Tribune - Seattle Post-Intelligencer - People - Entertainment Weekly - The Christian Science Monitor - The Plain Dealer - The Atlantic - Rocky Mountain News - Library Journal"

Strout's follow-up to her 2009 Pulitzer Prize winner Olive Kitteridge links a trio of middle-aged siblings with a group of Somali immigrants in a familiar story about isolation within families and communities. The Burgesses have troubles both public and secret: sour, divorced Susan, who stayed in the family's hometown of Shirley Falls, Maine, with her teenage son Zachary; big-hearted Bob, who feels guilty about their father's fatal car accident; and celebrity defense lawyer Jim, who moved to Brooklyn, N.Y. When Zachary hurls a bloody pig's head into a Somali mosque during Ramadan, fragile connections between siblings, the Somalis, and other Shirley Falls residents are tested. Jim's bullish meddling into Zach's trial hurts rather than helps, and Susan's inability to act without her brothers' advice cements her role as the weakest link (and least interesting character). Finally, when Jim's neurotic wife, Helen, witnesses the depth of her husband's indifference and Bob's ex-wife, Pam, finds the security of her new life in Manhattan tested by nostalgia for Shirley Falls, Zach's fate-and that of the Somalis-becomes an unfortunate afterthought. Strout excels in constructing an intricate web of circuitous family drama, which makes for a powerful story, but the familiarity of the novel's questions and a miraculously disentangled denouement drain the story of depth. Agent: Lisa Bankoff, ICM. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

The Burgess siblings are in disarray. Decades earlier, the "boys," Jim and Bob, fled their childhood home of Shirley Falls, ME, to practice law in New York City. Jim is a flashy uptown defense attorney who once won a high-profile celebrity murder case. His meek younger brother, Bob, the ultimate agent of conciliation, is a Legal Aid lawyer. When Bob's twin sister, Susan, calls from Shirley Falls to say her odd teenage son, Zachary, has thrown a pig's head into the mosque of the community's Somali population, an unspeakably offensive violation of the Muslim faith, the brothers scramble to throw down legal cover. Events spin out of control, Zachary's crime goes national, tensions rise, and charges against the boy escalate. Meanwhile, the abrasive relationship among Jim, Bob, and Susan erodes as the shattering moment of their childhood-the death of their father, which was blamed on four-year-old Bob-bubbles to the surface. VERDICT Pulitzer Prize-winner Strout (Olive Kitteridge) takes the reader on a surprising journey of combative filial love and the healing powers of the truth. [See Prepub Alert, 11/12/12.]-Beth Andersen, Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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