The Burgess Boys

  • by Elizabeth Strout
  • Narrated by Cassandra Campbell
  • 13 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Longlisted – Baileys Women’s Prize 2014
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.


What the Critics Say

“Perceptive, deeply empathetic... Olive is the axis around which these thirteen complex, relentlessly human narratives spin themselves into Elizabeth Strout’s unforgettable novel in stories.” (O: The Oprah Magazine)
“Olive Kitteridge still lingers in memory like a treasured photograph.” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
“Deeply human... Though loneliness and loss haunt these pages, Strout also supplies gentle humor and a nourishing dose of hope.” (Booklist)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.
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- Nancy Bowring

Plot and characters very predictable

I was disappointed with this book. The story sounded interesting - 3 siblings getting together to come to terms with the death of their father in their childhood. The other theme the book tackles is the relationship between the people in a small town and Somali immigrants. Both of these were very clumsily dealt with as the characters were very shallowly drawn and the plot was so obvious you could have guessed most of it.

I'd say it's fine for a very easy listen but completely forgettable.
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- Caroline

Book Details

  • Release Date: 26-03-2013
  • Publisher: Random House Audio