The Burgess Boys
On a breezy October afternoon in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, Helen Farber Burgess was packing for vacation. A big blue suitcase lay open on the bed, and clothes her husband had chosen the night before were folded and stacked on the lounge chair nearby. Sunlight kept springing into the room from the shifting clouds outside, making the brass knobs on the bed shine brightly and the suitcase become very blue. Helen was walking back and forth between the dressing room—with its enormous mirrors and white horsehair wallpaper, the dark woodwork around the long window—walking between that and the bedroom, which had French doors…
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. Bob, a Legal Aid attorney, idolizes Jim and has always taken it in stride. But their long-standing dynamic is upended when their sister, Susan, urgently calls them home.
Susan's teenage son, Zach, has gotten himself into a world of trouble and she desperately needs their help. And so the Burgess brothers return to the landscape of their childhood. Long-buried tensions that have shaped and shadowed their relationships 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, The Burgess Boys is Elizabeth Strout’s newest and perhaps most astonishing work of literary art.
New York Times Bestseller
One of the Best Books of the Year by The Washington Post • NPR • Good Housekeeping
Now in paperback
Also available in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook formats.
A Reader's Guide to The Burgess Boys
"A Reader's Guide" is included in the paperback edition.