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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 (878 )
5 star
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3.6 (761 )
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Story
3.9 (756 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Anne 12-17-14
    Anne 12-17-14
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    "very interesting interplay between characters"
    If you could sum up The Burgess Boys in three words, what would they be?

    very human


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This is a serious book and has moments of real human response which were funny


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marva Gaithersburg, MD, United States 09-15-14
    Marva Gaithersburg, MD, United States 09-15-14 Member Since 2013

    Words spoken in season is like a fresh rain.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Burgess Family"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Burgess Boys to be better than the print version?

    Sorry, didn't review the print.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Bob. The most balanced (and sane).


    What about Cassandra Campbell’s performance did you like?

    She's a great reader.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Boston


    Any additional comments?

    Interesting book. Jim was a trip. I would have liked to see if Helen allowed him back.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Georgette Topakas 09-13-14 Member Since 2014
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    "A little slow to start, but worth the wait"

    A story that covers so many levels of human relationships that you'll be sad when it ends. Well worth the read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Liatris Salem, OR, United States 05-05-14
    Liatris Salem, OR, United States 05-05-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Difficult"

    I found this book difficult to get through. Unlike some other listeners I think the problem is that it is too well written. I know people who treat each other this way. Elizabeth Strout nailed it. The relationship between the brothers was so difficult during the first third of the book that I cried and would not have continued if it were not my book club's choice for this month. There are no likable characters in this book. Bob is nice, but a little to vague to be truly admirable. Otherwise everyone is so damaged it is painful. It reminds me a little bit of Mrs.Bridge, but perhaps that is just because that book depressed me as well. The story never really lightens at any point. I think the ending is supposed to be happy, and for two characters there is hope. Again I want to stress that the writing is good and the narration good; the book is just pretty much a downer from start to finish.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharron Robinvale, Australia 04-05-14
    Sharron Robinvale, Australia 04-05-14 Member Since 2014
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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
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    96
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    "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
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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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    68
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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
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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

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