Published: Random House, 03/26/2013
See, it turns out that Elizabeth Strout is a really, really good writer. She can put a sentence together with the best of them, and her characterizations are piercingly accurate. The action ostensibly centers around a sort-of (it's complicated) hate crime in a fictional small town in Maine, but the book is really about the emotional fallout among the Burgesses as ancient grudges and resentments resurface among the extended family. At a slim three hundred-odd pages, Strout's novel wields a staggering emotional heft without any manufactured melodrama.
So, would I recommend it? Yes, highly, and not just to my mom (although I have recommended it to my mom). When The Burgess Boys is inevitably given the Oprah stamp of approval, I guess I'll have another title I'll have to add to my list of exceptions. If you can, make it out to the reading at Flyleaf books tomorrow-- grab a ticket in advance, there's sure to be a big crowd-- and see for yourself why Elizabeth Strout deserves every bit of the hype.