'As a portrait of a family struggling to balance the accumulated tensions and resentments of a half century with the pull of kinship that never quite overrides them, [The Burgess Boys]feels so truthful it will sometimes make you gasp. As a portrait of a community struggling to come to terms with the consequences of globalisation, decline, and immigration from cultures that don't want to assimilate, it feels fiercely urgent. This is as much a state-of-the-nation novel as one of small-town life. Elizabeth Strout writes with a lyric simplicity that thrusts you into the heart of each character's life and world...[her] empathy ... radiates out to every corner of her world. She shines a light but she doesn't judge. [Strout] has written a novel that makes you feel: this is what it's like to be alive Sunday Times --Sunday Times
Two brothers' lives are irrevocably altered when their 19-year-old nephew is embroiled in a scandal of his own making
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 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.
* 'Strout animates the ordinary with an astonishing force' The New Yorker
* 'As perfect a novel as you will ever read' Evening Standard on Olive Kitteridge
* 'A novel of shining integrity and humour, about the bravery and hard choices of what is called ordinary life' Alice Munro on Amy & Isabelle