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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 (994 )
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3.9 (864 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Linda Tracy 04-06-16
    Linda Tracy 04-06-16 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "And so the story goes..."

    As far back as the Bible and probably before that, strong women take back their inferior lovers.... while weak women hunt for needy men. Why is that? Could it be true, as the saying goes,' women seem to get the man they think they deserve.' This is a book about women, not men. Women trying to negotiate their way in a society that is often accepting of them.....not just in Somalia....but here. And, by their own neediness seem to foster another generation of the same self indulgent men.

    The prose was good. But I felt rung out by the story and totally sad.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CL 01-28-16
    CL 01-28-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Kept Waiting for it to improve"

    Not sure why I didn't return it. Only good part was the last 10 minutes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Walter 01-03-16
    John Walter 01-03-16 Member Since 2015
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    1
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    Story
    "Okay"

    Well written story with great themes, I'm sixteen so it was boring to me though.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alicia Bloomsburg, PA, United States 10-08-15
    Alicia Bloomsburg, PA, United States 10-08-15 Member Since 2010
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    Story
    "The Burgess Family"

    If ever it were true, this story exemplifies the saying, "There's no place like home, no matter how humble."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Delberta 07-23-15
    Delberta 07-23-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Confusing."

    Although this wasn't the story I was expecting, it is okay. However, the characters seem ill-formed or overly vague or perhaps they just don't make sense to me. I became so impatient with the characters that I wanted to shake them or at least hurry along to get the book finished. I would not recommend this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anita Lindsley 03-04-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Family is at the heart of this story"

    Nothing is ever as it seems. Ms. Strout tells a compelling story about three siblings and is an excellent story teller.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    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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    Story
    "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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    Story
    "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
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  • Nancy Bowring
    Sussex
    1/17/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Authentic characters make for a gripping listen"

    After a tragic childhood accident, the Burgess children’s lives and personalities have all been deeply affected; not just in the ways in which their lives have turned out, but particularly in the way they respond to and treat each other. This has a knock-on effect on the sister Susan’s son, Zach and his actions threaten to destroy not only his own life but race-relations in their local community.
    Elizabeth Strout has a rare talent for portraying her characters, not only as 3 dimensional, but as whole, totally believable people. As in real life, nobody is totally good (though Bob comes close to that description) or bad.
    A narrator can make or break a book. Cassandra Campbell enhances this audiobook by bringing to life each character with its own instantly recognisable voice.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Ann
    2/27/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Fantastic Book"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Burgess Boys to be better than the print version?

    I really enjoyed listening to this book. It allowed me to really listen to the beautiful language and enthralling descriptive sections.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • monsaraz
    4/10/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Engrossing"

    Engrossing story, beautifully read, delineating all the characters so well. While basically a family drama, also covers issues of large scale immigration to a part of the US already in decline.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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