TE Reads: “The Burgess Boys”

February 26, 2019 Newton Free
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“The Burgess Boys” (Courtesy photo)
“The Burgess Boys” (Courtesy photo)

Everyone is invited to read “The Burgess Boys” by Elizabeth Strout and then come together for a discussion with Rabbi Gardenswartz.

Pulitzer Prize-winning Strout delivers a tightly woven yet seemingly languorous portrayal of a family in longtime disarray. Brothers Jim and Bob Burgess, and sister Susan, are mired in a childhood trauma: when he was 4, Bob unwittingly released the parking brake on the family car, which ran over their father and killed him.

Originally from small Shirley Falls, Maine, the Burgess brothers have long since fled to vastly disparate lives as New York City attorneys. Egoistic Jim is a famous big shot with a corporate firm. Self-effacing Bob leads a more low-profile career with Legal Aid. High-strung Susan calls them home to fix a family crisis: her son stands accused of a possible hate crime against the small town’s improbable Somali population. The siblings’ varying responses to the crisis illuminate their sheer differences while also recalling their shared upbringing, forcing them finally to deal with their generally unmentioned, murky family history. Strout’s tremendous talent at creating a compelling interest in what seems on the surface to be the barest of actions gives her latest work an almost editative state, in which the fabric of family, loyalty and difficult choices is revealed in layer after artful layer.

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Fact Sheet
When
Tuesday, February 26, 2019, 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Where
Temple Emanuel
385 Ward St
Newton, MA 02459
Price
Free
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