The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout

The Burgess BoysThough Bob Burgess lived in the shadows of his hot shot brother, Jim, and suffered many indignities at hand, he nevertheless loved and admired him. After all, Jim had it all — a stunning career as a nation­ally renowned criminal lawyer, a beautiful and adoring wife, and two healthy and happy children. By contrast, Bob is divorced, living alone, and eking out a small life as a public defender six blocks from his famous brother in Brooklyn.

That all begins to change — or at least comes under severe scrutiny — when their estranged sister calls the brothers, begging for them to come home. It seems her son has found him­self in terrible and publicly humiliating legal trouble, and she needs their moral and legal support. And so it is that Jim and Bob return from New York to their hated home in western Massachusetts to give their sister and their nephew support.

As the pressure builds both within this small family and from outside forces nearly beyond their control, the brothers begin to see themselves and each other in entirely new lights — and not necessarily attractive ones.

Elizabeth Strout, the brilliant Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Olive Kit­teridge, returns us to the landscape of small town New England, where lives are lived in geography that is confining, but where one deals with issues that bring us to the larger and true meanings of life, love, and family.

Random House; ISBN 978-0-8129-7951-0; $15

The Burgess Boys website

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