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The Burgess Boys Audiobook

The Burgess Boys: A Novel

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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, March 2013 - Jim and Bob Burgess escaped their Maine hometown just as soon as they could…but now their nephew’s ‘antics’ have brought them back home where they’re forced to relive the accident that killed their father and deal with the (not-so-pretty) realities of their relationships. Elizabeth Strout won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her last book, Olive Kitteridge, which I loved, so my expectations were high for this new novel. Similar to Olive, the protagonists here aren’t necessarily likeable, but the character studies are so insightful, so raw and real, you can’t help but be drawn in – especially with Cassandra Campbell at the helm. —Diana D., Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

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 listeners long after the ausiobook is over. Tender, tough-minded, loving, and deeply illuminating about the ties that bind us to family and home, The Burgess Boys is Elizabeth Strout’s newest and perhaps most astonishing work of literary art.

©2013 Elizabeth Strout (P)2013 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"Deeply human... Though loneliness and loss haunt these pages, Strout also supplies gentle humor and a nourishing dose of hope.” (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (815 )
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3.9 (700 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Sharron Robinvale, Australia 04-05-14
    Sharron Robinvale, Australia 04-05-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good listen"

    I enjoyed the story of the Burgess boys and their sister, even though I didn't particularly like or relate to any of them. The insight into human behaviour and society's reaction when confronted with refugees was very well portrayed by Elizabeth Strout. The narrator was very good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 11-25-13
    ratings
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    90
    2
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    Story
    "A great story!"
    Would you listen to The Burgess Boys again? Why?

    I would listen to this book again. Strout does a wonderful job with character development. Each one is real and believable!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephanie Richmond, CA, United States 09-13-13
    Stephanie Richmond, CA, United States 09-13-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "ONE OF STROUT'S BEST"

    Actually, when has Elizabeth Strout written a bad book? Done with her inimitable style and inimitable observations of how we humans behave, both badly and well. A gem.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tori Winston-Salem, NC United States 09-10-13
    Tori Winston-Salem, NC United States 09-10-13 Member Since 2013

    Love books with a lot of heart. Deep character development and intelligent writers.

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    "Fantastic reader and great story"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely, the reader is one of my favorites. Every word is spoken with emotion.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Burgess Boys?

    When Jim admitted he was the one who killed his father not Bob.


    Which character – as performed by Cassandra Campbell – was your favorite?

    I liked Pam.


    If you could take any character from The Burgess Boys out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Although Jim was the villain of the story he was also the most interesting. I would take Jim out and just let him talk about everything.


    Any additional comments?

    Elizabeth Strout does an excellent job of weaving a story together. Her characters are in-depth, lovable and flawed. She is a keen observer of family dynamics and the listener can see how everything fits together at the end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kim LOS ALAMOS, NM, United States 08-26-13
    Kim LOS ALAMOS, NM, United States 08-26-13 Member Since 2012
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    64
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    "Horrible"
    Any additional comments?

    This is absolutely the worst book I have ever listened to. I kept waiting for something to happen. A complete waste of my time. Awful!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lucy 08-12-13
    Lucy 08-12-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great story; terrible narration"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Never, ever, ever should someone try to "do" a Maine accent. Either you have an original one or don't attempt this. I found the readers attempt to "do" this accent distracting at best and highly irritating at worst. It was uneven, as though she would remember here or there that she was supposed to be reading a character from Maine. This made the book much less of an enjoyable experience for me. I probably would have liked the book much better if I'd just read it rather than listened to it.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teatime2 07-30-13
    Teatime2 07-30-13

    teatime2

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Truly awful reading of a decent story"

    This is the most important thing I have to say about this book. Having loved Olive Kitteridge, I had anticipated also enjoying The Burgess Boys. Alas, the reader's "Maine accent" was painful to listen to, which is ironic as, early on in the book, mention is made of how difficult it is to fake a Maine accent. This is one book I would have doubtless enjoyed more in print.

    The characters were mostly unlikeable from beginning to end, which made it difficult to become interested in their fates. Also, I find the exploitation of current events tiresome but that may not be the case for all readers as evidenced by the popularity of authors such as Jodi Picoult.

    My advice is to always listen to the Audible sample before buying an audiobook, although, in this case, the offending "accent" wasn't evident from the sample.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret CHILOQUIN, OR, United States 07-26-13
    Margaret CHILOQUIN, OR, United States 07-26-13 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Acceptance at best"

    I liked the characters most of the time and there was room for change. There was movement towards accepting the hand that was dealt and coming to terms with long held secrets and lies. Did I love listening to it? No, not really. I thought the characters were dreadfully slow in seeing what was real and the emphasis on a new culture diluting the character of the a staid little town just felt overblown to me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stone Pullman, WA, United States 07-19-13
    Stone Pullman, WA, United States 07-19-13 Member Since 2009

    Thinking mom

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Elizabeth Strout doesn't disappoint"

    I'll admit--I found the beginning of "The Burgess Boys" a little slow, but I stuck with it because I haven't read anything from Elizabeth Strout that I didn't like. I'm glad I kept going. The story was interesting, especially in these times, and the characters were all people that you hoped would grow and see what their issues were.

    Artfully written story about two brothers and a sister from Maine. The brothers left Maine for New York City after college, while the sister stays behind. When her son has some problems with the law and the civil rights community, the brothers step in to help, each in their own way with their own particular gifts. The wives of the brothers provide interesting contrast with the siblings, as well.

    Well-told and with characters you care about. Another terrific book from Strout.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura Smith Washington 07-11-13
    Laura Smith Washington 07-11-13 Member Since 2015

    busycrazymama

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    5
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    "Ugh, made myself keep going but had to stop"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Someone who likes fake accents and over-articulation.


    What could Elizabeth Strout have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    I think the book might have been okay, I really couldn't focus on it. I originally had this as a physical book and then decided to listen to it. I should have stuck with *reading* it. Having said that, the story wasn't captivating enough for me to keep with it despite the performance, so I suppose that says something about the book itself.


    How could the performance have been better?

    A different narrator.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Annoyance.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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