Jan Stafford Kellis
The Burgess Boys

The Burgess Boys

The Burgess BoysThe Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a book about assumptions and perceptions, and how an entire life can be shaped around them.  Three of the characters in this book undergo substantial changes after discovering and/or admitting the assumptions and perceptions they’d lived by were false.

The story is told from several different perspectives, in third person, and it is basically the recounting, by an acquaintance introduced in the prologue, and never mentioned again.  As a way of introducing the narrator, it works, but the reader never learns the narrator’s name and the encounter mentioned in the prologue isn’t mentioned in the story itself.  It seems Jim Burgess is a well-known, respected lawyer who won a high-profile case watched by everyone on television.  He lives in Manhattan, working for a large law firm, when his nephew gets into some legal hot water for a childish prank involving a pig’s head being thrown into a mosque during Ramadan. The nephew still lives in Maine, in the small town where Jim grew up.  Jim is the eldest of three, a few years older than his brother and sister, who are twins.

Enjoy this story.  Sink into it.  Elizabeth Strout has outdone herself this time.

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