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The Burgess Boys
Photo courtesy of Leonardo Cendamo

If you've already read Elizabeth Strout, you know how she mines everyday experiences for great emotional poignancy. If you've never read Elizabeth Strout, stop whatever you're doing and get yourself a copy of Amy and Isabelle, Abide with Me or Olive Kitteridge, pronto.

The Burgess Boys follows in this quietly explosive tradition. In other words, it's primed to hit everyone's 2013 short list.

Strout's newest novel chronicles the complicated and deeply ingrained relationships of three siblings haunted by a freak accident in their childhood. Jim is a hotshot corporate lawyer who rose to fame during an O.J. Simpson-like murder case; Bob is a kindhearted attorney forever living in his older brother's shadow; and Susan is the proverbial black sheep whose bitterness has kept her rooted in the trio's rural Maine hometown.

When Susan's teenaged son is charged with a hate crime, she calls in her lawyer brothers for help--but as with everything in Strout's fiction, right and wrong are not so easily sorted out.

From the gentrified streets of Brooklyn to the immigrant Somali communities of New England, The Burgess Boys takes on the complexity of both family and contemporary America: The good guys are increasingly flawed, and the villains as familiar as a blood relation.

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