Summary

As in her Pulitzer Prize-winning Olive Kitteredge, Strout promises to make everyday small-town life luminous and absorbing. Brothers who have fled upstate Shirley Falls for New York City return when their sister needs help with her troubled teenage son.


Elizabeth Strout “animates the ordinary with an astonishing force,” wroteThe New Yorkeron the publication of her Pulitzer Prize–winningOlive Kitteridge. TheSan Francisco Chroniclepraised 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 Boysis Elizabeth Strout’s newest and perhaps most astonishing work of literary art.
 
Praise for Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize–winningOlive 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 Kitteridgestill 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