Zach is a lost teenager, so lost that he takes out his frustrations on the Somali refugees who have moved into his hometown of Shirley Falls, Maine. His mother, Susan, calls for help from her brothers, Jim and Bob Burgess, two lawyers who have fled Maine to work in New York City. Zach’s legal problems soon take a second seat to a larger family drama.
While not as entertaining as Strout’s Pulitizer-prize winning Olive Kitteridge, the novel’s multiple perspectives draw readers into the brothers’ troubled lives. A family and a community may be flawed, but Strout stresses the need to seek reconciliation when we can. “No one wants to believe something is too late, but it is always becoming too late, and then it is.” (Random House)