Just finished this and it was a pleasure to read:
You may recognize Elizabeth Strout as author of the award-winning Olive Kittridge, a novel in connected short stories. She creates characters that you believe exist and does so with graceful language. Although she is best known for Olive Kittridge, I feel that her first novel, Amy and Isabelle, is even better.
The Burgess Boys is not her best, in my opinion, but it is worth reading. Each night, I looked forward to picking it up and joining the Burgess brothers as they struggled to reconcile the tragedy that marred their childhood with the places they landed as adults. Some of the characters in this book seemed a little far-fetched, but not enough to make me want to put down the book. Overall, it was a good read.
I also read To Rise Again at a Decent Hour, by Joshua Ferris. This tale of a dentist who becomes obsessed with an anonymous blogger who takes in the dentist's identity online received great reviews. However, I was disappointed in it. Maybe I'm just not deep enough. The story is almost a parable about religion and about real versus virtual worlds. The story seemed to bow too much to the themes he was pursuing. On the upside, I flossed more regularly once I started this book.
But, I must mention his first novel: And Then We Came to the End. This is the only book told in the first-person plural (we) that I enjoyed. It's a humorous workplace story that unearths some of the truths of the daily grind in the current capitalist market. This is a book to savor.