Monday, March 25, 2013

The Burgess Boys - Book Review

A wry and keen observer of characters, Elizabeth Strout delves deep into the lives of Jim and Bob Burgess, brothers from a small town in Maine, in her newest novel The Burgess Boys. The brothers have been living their own lives in New York City--Jim as a famous defense attorney and Bob as a quiet attorney in the appellate court, when they get the distress call from their sister, still living in their Maine hometown. Her 19 year old son is in trouble and she needs her brothers. The brothers will go to her aid and in the reunion the past childhood drama of their father's accidental death will be reexamined.

The family drama that ensues is an interesting study of personality and history. Delving into other timely topics such as racism and immigration, the media and politics, Strout has a quiet way of seeing the situation from a variety of perceptions. How do different individuals perceive and react to the same situations? Can one escape consequences for one's actions? How does one's perception of self shape one's personal choices and history? The Burgess Boys brings up several questions for discussion.

The novel moves slowly at times and is surely not for those seeking action and constant excitement. Yet, the characters are so carefully crafted, so flawed and yet earnest, that it is perfectly plausible these siblings really grew up in Shirley Falls, Maine.

Compelling, yet superbly simple, The Burgess Boys is a brilliant character-driven novel.

The Burgess Boys is released March 26, 2013.

**I received a complimentary copy of The Burgess Boys in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was received**.

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