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The Burgess Boys: A Novel by Elizabeth…

The Burgess Boys: A Novel (edition 2014)

by Elizabeth Strout (Author)

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2,0611995,895 (3.69)267
Catalyzed by a nephew's thoughtless prank, a pair of brothers confront painful psychological issues surrounding the freak accident that killed their father when they were boys, a loss linked to a heartbreaking deception that shaped their personal and professional lives.
Title:The Burgess Boys: A Novel
Authors:Elizabeth Strout (Author)
Info:Random House Trade Paperbacks (2014), Edition: Reprint, 352 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout

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    BookshelfMonstrosity: A dramatic incident provokes adult siblings to explore their lives and relationships in these moving and lyrical novels. While more about family than race, both books include thought-provoking meditations on the complexity of racial relations in 21st century America.… (more)

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English (196)  Spanish (2)  Catalan (1)  German (1)  All languages (200)
Showing 1-5 of 196 (next | show all)
Un bel libro che, in modo apparentemente disinvolto, affronta il tema del senso di colpa, dell'intolleranza, dell'adolescenza, del matrimonio, della solitudine.
Uno scibile umano descritto in una storia pacata, a tratti avvincente, sempre godibile.
Ne consiglio la lettura, sono ore ben spese. ( )
  LauraLaLunga | Feb 15, 2021 |
This was a story of two brothers finding their way through their individual mid-life crises while also coming to terms if not resolution with the event in their childhood that made the strongest mark on who they became as adults. The unique aspect of the story was that the childhood event defined both brothers in its own way and the new understanding of the event is equally difficult for both brothers to reconcile. This process that the brothers are going through coincides with a family crisis that brings the family close to destruction, although it wasn't that far away to begin with, but ultimately begins the process of healing the age-old wounds.

I found Jim and Bob as well as their sister unattractive and uninspiring characters. I was as frustrated with Bob as I was shocked at who Jim was. Sometimes an unattractive character can still be very captivating. Not in this case. In the end this story was unsatisfying and the transitions the characters made were hard to believe. ( )
  afkendrick | Oct 24, 2020 |
Strout is a great developer of character -- getting all the details just right to create people that are so ordinary in extraordinary ways. The Burgess siblings (Jim, Bob and Susan) have a complicated relationship based on their shared challenging childhood. When Bob was only 4, he and the other two kids were playing in the car, and he put it in gear and inadvertently killed their father. Bob has lived with this shadow his whole life, is now an emotionally bumbling adult who drinks too much and still looks up to brother Jimmy. When Susan's awkward, emo teenage son rolls a pig's head into a mosque, it is the catalyst for both the larger action in the novel and the interior action that begins to shift and alter the siblings' relationships. Jim, the most successful as a hotshot lawyer is the immediate go-to to fix the whole situation. He begins to with his typical bluster, boasting, and put-downs to the other two, but as the case drags on, Susan and Bob get stronger and leave Jim's shadow and come into their own. Strout is an excellent regional author capturing the mindset of Maine. ( )
  CarrieWuj | Oct 24, 2020 |
Savored this engrossing story of the enduring nature of family ties through the vicissitudes of life. Strout provides insightful observations of human nature. ( )
  Misprint | Aug 31, 2020 |
Starting to develop a real taste for Elizabeth Strout. Her writing style is very comfortable and has a realism that pulls one into the characters. Her stories are well crafted and give the reader the feeling they are viewing a slice of life.

First being honest the characters are not compelling further the story is difficult. That is not a condemnation, it is necessary for the story to deliver the plethora of feelings and emotions examined. The novel takes us through a journey of the Burgess family's confrontation of the pivotal event that defined and cast each of the three children in their adult lives. As in life, the curtain was not drawn in one motion; gradually through their intervention to help the only son of their sister it brought forth insight into the formation of each personality. And just like life, the ultimate impact was not what would be expected yet it freed all from the burdens they had carried all their lives.

Resolution is seldom comfortable, in this journey it was had a level of shock that produced understanding that dropped the shackles had defined the lives of each. The writing was exceptional in how it made the reader feel the emotions and embrace the freedom finally given. ( )
  can44okie | Aug 28, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 196 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elizabeth Stroutprimary authorall editionscalculated
Campbell, CassandraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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To my husband

Jim Tierney
First words
My mother and I talked a lot about the Burgess Family. "The Burgess kids," she called them.
Back in New York, calling from my twenty-sixth-floor apartment one evening, watching through the window as dusk touched the city and lights emerged like fireflies in the fields of buildings spread out before me, I said, "Do you remember when Bob's mom sent him to a shrink? Kids talked about it on the playground. 'Bobby Burgess has to see a doctor for mentals.'"
"Kids are awful," my mother said. "Honest to God."
We did this kind of thing, repeated the stuff we knew.
And so it began. Like a cat's cradle connecting my mother to me, and me to Shirley Falls, bits of gossip and news and memories about the Burgess kids supported us.
A short pause, and then Bob said, "Yeah," his voice dropping into an understanding so quick and entire–it was his strong point, Helen thought, his odd ability to fall feetfirst into the little pocket of someone else's world for those few seconds.
She was thin as kindling.
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Catalyzed by a nephew's thoughtless prank, a pair of brothers confront painful psychological issues surrounding the freak accident that killed their father when they were boys, a loss linked to a heartbreaking deception that shaped their personal and professional lives.

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Book description
Haunted by a 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 possible could. Jim, a sleek, successful corporate lawyer, has belittled his bighearted brother their whole lives, and Bob, a legal aid attorney who idolises Jim, has always taken it in his stride.

But their long-standing dynamic is upended when their sister, Susan - the sibling who stayed behind - urgently calls them home. Her lonely teenage son, Zach, has landed 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.
Haiku summary
Did Bob kill father?
Did Zach act out a hate crime?
And what about Jim?

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