The Burgess Boys (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

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Overview

Struggling with the long-term fallout of the accident that killed their father when they were boys, two brothers are catalyzed by a nephew's thoughtless prank and discover heartbreaking deceptions and losses that inform both their personal and professional lives. By the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Olive Kitteridge.

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The Burgess Boys: A Novel

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Overview

Struggling with the long-term fallout of the accident that killed their father when they were boys, two brothers are catalyzed by a nephew's thoughtless prank and discover heartbreaking deceptions and losses that inform both their personal and professional lives. By the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Olive Kitteridge.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780606355971
  • Publisher: Sanval, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/8/2014
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: THIS EDITION IS INTENDED FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth  Strout
Elizabeth Strout
Since the publication of Amy and Isabelle, Elizabeth Strout’s bestselling debut novel, seven years have passed. Now that her second novel, Abide with Me, is finally seeing the light of day, her fans are learning that good things are always worth waiting for.

Biography

With the kind of reception that Elizabeth Strout's debut novel Amy and Isabelle received, one might have expected her to rush right back to her writing desk to author a follow-up while the proverbial iron was still hot. However, that is not the way that Strout works. "I wish tremendously that I was faster about all this," she recently told Bookpage.com. "But, you know, it didn't turn out to be that way." It ultimately took her about seven years to write Abide with Me, her sophomore effort, and the amount of time she put into crafting the novel is apparent on every page.

The multitudinous hours that went into writing Abide with Me are not anything new to Elizabeth Strout. She took any equally measured number of years to writer her debut, which she developed out of a short story. "It took me around three years to ‘clear my throat' for this book," she told Bookreporter.com at the time of the release of Amy and Isabelle. "During much of that time Amy and Isabelle remained a story. Once I got down to actually writing it as a novel it took another six or seven years." However, the pay off for the time she spent writing this humorous, expertly rendered tale of the troubled relationship between a mother and her daughter was substantial. Amy and Isabelle received nearly unanimous praise, lauded by Mademoiselle, The New Yorker, Newsweek, Time Magazine, People Magazine, and Publishers Weekly, to name just a few. The novel also nabbed nominations for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and the Orange Prize for Fiction, and was the subject of a 2001 made-for-television movie starring Elizabeth Shue.

So, what kept Strout from completing her second novel sooner? Perhaps it was her unorthodox writing methods. "I try to get in three or four hours (of writing per day)," she explains, "and I put off having lunch for as long as I can because having lunch seems to change the energy flow. If I'm lucky, I'll get through till one o'clock. And then I throw everything out. And that's a morning's work."

While Strout may be indulging in a little good-natured, comical leg-pulling, she did not write Abide with Me to elicit giggles from her readers. This somber piece introduces Tyler Caskey, a minister in a small New England community whose mounting personal doubts following a tragedy cause the community that he serves to develop their own doubts about his ability to guide them spiritually.

While Abide with Me stands in contrast to the comparatively humorous Amy and Isabelle, it was not Strout's intention to render a serious exploration of theology or religion. She views the book as more of a character study. "It is the story of a minister," she explains. "I was interested in writing about a religious man who is genuine in his religiosity and who gets confronted with such sadness so abruptly that he loses himself. Not his faith, but his faith in himself."

With the admiration already pouring in for Abide with Me, Strout may very well have another bestseller on her hands. Publishers Weekly has called this striking novel "a harrowing meditation of exile on Main Street," while Booklist suggested that "Readers who enjoyed...Amy and Isabelle... will find much to move them in this tale of a man trying to get past his grief amid a town full of colorful people with their own secrets and heartaches."

Such praise may be of little interest to Strout, who once told Bookreporter.com, "When I finish a piece, I put it behind me and look to my future work." But considering her leisurely work methods, it may be several years before her readers get their hands on her any of her future work -- not that Strout needs to worry about whether or not her fans will forget her. As long as she continues producing work as rich and compelling as Amy and Isabelle and Abide with Me, she can take all the time she needs.

Update:
In 2009 Strout was honored with a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for Olive Kitteridge, a collection of connected short stories about a woman and her immediate family and friends on the coast of Maine.

Good To Know

Some fun and fascinating outtakes from our interview with Strout:

"My first job was when I was about 12, cleaning houses in the afternoons for different elderly women in town. I hated it. I would be so bored scrubbing at some kitchen tile, that my mind would finally float all over the place, to the beach, to a friend's house...all this happened in my mind as I scrubbed those tiles, so it was certainly good for my imagination. But I did hate it."

"Without a doubt my mother was an inspiration for my writing. This is true in many ways, but mostly because she is a wonderful storyteller, without even knowing it. I would listen, as a child, when some friend of hers came to visit, and they would gossip about the different people they knew. My mother had the most fascinating stories about people's families, murderers, mental illnesses, babies abandoned, and she delivered it all in a matter-of-fact way that was terribly compelling. It made me believe that there was nothing more interesting than the lives of people, their real hidden lives, and this of course can lead one down the path of becoming a fiction writer."

"Later, in college, one of my favorite things was to go into town and sit at the counter at Woolworth's (so tragic to have them gone!) and listen to people talking; the waitresses and the customers -- I loved it. I still love to eavesdrop, but mostly I like the idea of being around people who are right in the middle of their lives, revealing certain details to each other -- leaving the rest for me to make up."

"I love theater. I love sitting in an audience and having the actors right there, playing out what it means to be a human being. There is something about the actual relationship that is going on between the audience and the actors that I just love. I love seeing the sets and costumes, the decisions that have been made about the staging...it's a place for the eye and the ear to be fully involved. I have always loved theater."

"I also like cell phones. What I mean by that is I hear many people complain about cell phones; they can't go anywhere without hearing someone on a cell phone, etc. But I love that chance to hear half a conversation, even if the person is just saying, ‘Hi honey, I'll be home in ten minutes, do you want me to bring some milk?' And I'm also grateful to have a cell phone, just to know it's there if I need it when I'm out and about. So I'm a cell phone fan."

"I don't especially like to travel, not the way many people do. I know many people that love to go to far-off and different places, and I've never been like that. I seem to get homesick as quickly as a child. I may like being in some new place for a few days, but then I want to go home and return to my routine and my familiar corner stores. I am a real creature of habit, without a doubt."

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    1. Hometown:
      Brooklyn, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 6, 1956
    2. Place of Birth:
      Portland, Maine
    1. Education:
      B.A., Bates College, 1977; J.D., Syracuse College of Law, 1982
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 110 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(32)

4 Star

(26)

3 Star

(21)

2 Star

(16)

1 Star

(15)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 110 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2013

    I don't usually leave recommendations, but I decided this book n

    I don't usually leave recommendations, but I decided this book needed to be talked about. I read Olive Ketteridge previously and knew this would also be a wonderful book. I love a good story with strong characters and this has both. There are no wild twists or torns, no sex, and no intrigue - just good story telling with a message. If you hunger for a good story, this is it.

    21 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2013

    Definitely Reccomend

    As soon as I saw that Elizabeth Stroud had a new book coming out I pre-ordered The Burgess Boys! I was hooked on the author after reading Olive Kitteridge which I loved. This book is ultimately a story of a family's entertwined lives and how each member fits into the family dynamic while dealing with a crisis. I enjoy reading Ms. Stroud's style of writing, it keeps me turning the pages. Some may find the interaction between the family members uncomfortable to read at times but it is true to the story.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2013

    No recommendation

    This is a dreary read. ...a dysfunctional family story-and mostly unlikable characters.
    Olive Kitteridge was a favorite! too bad this one didn't measure up.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2013

    Basically boring but well written.

    Somewhat interesting family dynamics but moved too slowly and was at times boring. Story line seemed interesting but fell flat of my xpectations.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2013

    I found this book very depressing. I was disappointed. It's no

    I found this book very depressing. I was disappointed. It's not what I thougfht it would be.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 24, 2013

    Elizabeth Strout - The Burgess Boys As in her Pulitzer winning n

    Elizabeth Strout - The Burgess Boys
    As in her Pulitzer winning novel Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Strout’s The Burgess Boys is populated by flawed characters living in an imperfect world where grace comes from unexpected sources.  One should not assume that her writing is in anyway formulaic however as both books are exceptionally well written and reveal insights that have this reader at least questioning past, present, and future.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 27, 2013

    Not a book for Everyone

    Elizabeth Strout has her own style of writing, which pleases the literary critics. However, subject content is another matter. This book did not hold my interest, and I found it difficult to get through the entire book. In fact, other than emphasis on social issues of the day, I was left wondering what point she was trying to make, and when she was going to get to the story. We get enough of such concentrations by the media, we don't need acclaimed writers to devote an entire book to such. I was truly disappointed. I book so highly recommended is not one I would recommend.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Love it, Also love Too Crazy To Live Too Beautiful To Die def re

    Love it, Also love Too Crazy To Live Too Beautiful To Die
    def recommend
    great read

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2013

    Good charecters Rectwr

    Slow at times but great writer

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2013

    ?

    This is a book review site not a chat room!!!!!!

    2 out of 44 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2013

    fantastic

    Her writing is masterful, with compelling characters who somehow manage tounveil their true selves in mid-life
    Love her writing

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2013

    Definitely a good read

    I read this wonderful book for a book club discussion. There are so many interesting characters and story lines that our discussion took many paths. I would definitely read other books by this author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2013

    Study of Family Dynamics

    I found this to be an interesting story of an imperfect family as they find themselves dealing with a criminal act of the nephew. As the family history unravels, it is clear that the characters have all contributed to make the family very dysfunctional. However, in the end, the more successful brother, not suprisingly, was less able to cope with his failings than his other siblings who had lived most of their lives feeling inferior. I really liked the book, but felt the ending was a bit abrupt. It did make me continue to wonder how the characters would proceed in life. So sometimes an unknown ending is what makes us ponder about the characters longer.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 12, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Another great book by Elizabeth Strout. I didn't want to put it

    Another great book by Elizabeth Strout. I didn't want to put it down! Iwas very tired at work for a few days staying up to late reading it. I loved this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2013

    After reading "Olive Kitteridge I couldn't wait to read Str

    After reading "Olive Kitteridge I couldn't wait to read Strout's new book and was very disappointed. As each new event happened and each new character was introduced, I knew exactly what would happen. I really do not like a story where everything gets as bad as it can then in the last paragraph, all turns out right. I would not recommend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2013

    Strout Strikes Gold

    The Burgess Boys is the story of a family of siblings that come together to assist a son and nephew accused of a hate crime. He has bowled a pig head into a mosque during services. While he exits the scene to visit his father, the uncles relationships deteriorate. Strout really understands her brothers and Cassandra Campbell interprets all of her characters brilliantly. This book is for anyone who likes stories about families and relationships. I enjoyed Strout's Olive Kitteridge as well. I would enjoy leading a book club discussion of this book.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    This story patiently describes a harsh early life situation for

    This story patiently describes a harsh early life situation for two young boys. It shows how life 'moves on' regardless, and then, over time, we get to see the after-effects of early trauma on brothers. Readers discover how unhealed post traumatic effects DO play out, perhaps moreso on the brother who insists that he is the more strong and capable. I learned, in reading The Burgess Brothers, that here is no wound that can be left unhealed, or unacknowledged..or not passed on to the next generation. Elizabeth Strout tucked all of this into a poignant and engaging read - as she always does so well.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2014

    TOWN OF BURGESS/JACK FROST'S HOME

    This is where i live and hang out half the time.

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  • Posted January 6, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Boring. Hard time getting into the story - didn't finish it.

    Boring. Hard time getting into the story - didn't finish it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2013

    I loved "Olive Kitteridge" so I couldn't wait to read

    I loved "Olive Kitteridge" so I couldn't wait to read her new one. I am so disappointed in the book. Really dreary, slow, boring...I can't recommend it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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