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Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

Book cover for A Kid from Marlboro Road
Book cover for A Kid from Marlboro Road

An Irish-American family comes to life through the eyes of a 12-year-old boy in this debut novel by actor-filmmaker Ed Burns. Immigrants and storytellers, lilting voices and Long Island moxie are all part of this colorful Irish-Catholic community in 1970s New York.

Our twelve-year-old narrator, an aspiring writer, is at a wake. He takes in the death of his beloved grandfather, Pop, a larger-than-life figure. The overflowing crowd — a sign of a life well lived — comprises sandhogs in their muddy work boots, Irish grandmothers in black dresses, cops in uniform, members of the family deep in mourning. He watches it all, not yet realizing how this Irish American world defines who he is and who he will become. His older brother Tommy has no patience for rules and domesticities, his father is emotionally elsewhere. This boy knows he’s the best thing his mother's got, though her sadness envelops them both.  
 
In A Kid from Marlboro Road, past and present intermingle as family stories are told and retold. The narrative careens between the prior generation’s colorful sojourns in the Bronx and Hell’s Kitchen and the softer world of Gibson, the town on Long Island where they live now. There are scenes in the Rockaways, at Belmont racetrack, and in Montauk.

Edward Burns’s buoyant first novel is a bildungsroman. Out of one boy’s story a collective warmth emerges, a certain kind of American tale, raucous and joyous.

With eight pages of photographs of some of the people and historical locations that inspired characters and scenes in the novel.
 

Book cover for A Kid from Marlboro Road
Book cover for A Kid from Marlboro Road

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“A deeply satisfying, emotionally resonant story of a kid finally staking his independence from a mother mired in sadness.”

“Can a brilliant filmmaker be as good on the page? Yes! Ed Burns delights in the printed word. So wrap yourself around this book and give yourself a warm hug with a good read: A Kid from Marlboro Road.”

“In the best tradition of Irish storytelling, Ed Burns draws upon the same Irish Catholic Long Island upbringing he has rendered so beautifully in countless films to tell a deeply personal and wonderfully compelling coming-of-age story dripping with wit, humanity, and stunning authenticity on every page.”

“Growing up is a process of becoming and letting go. Edward Burns' A Kid from Marlboro Road captures, through the remarkably true voice of its attentive young narrator, the bittersweet joys and messy confusion of those early teenage years, when one is still tethered to family but readying to face the bigger world. It is a lovely, big-hearted, and wise book.”

“Ed Burns knocks it out of the park with this poignant coming-of-age story about a mama’s boy attempting to break free from his mother while her own hopes and dreams fall apart. Beautifully written and heartbreakingly honest, A Kid From Marlboro Road will resonate with both young people seeking independence and older generations who have experienced the pain of letting go. As a soon-to-be empty nester, I laughed, cried, and savored every page.”

“[A] bittersweet debut . . . Burns’s coming-of-age story suggests a Long Island version of Nick Adams.”

“Burns ... [weaves] together a series of bittersweet, personal, and wryly humorous episodes into a portrait of the titular kid who grew up on Marlboro Road. ... Endearing and insightful.”

Ed Burns author photo, taken by Myles Aronowitz

Born in Woodside, Queens and raised on Long Island, EDWARD BURNS has made fourteen feature films as a writer-director-actor and starred in many films, including Saving Private Ryan. Burns’ first film The Brothers McMullen, premiered in competition at the 1995 Sundance Film Festival, winning the Grand Jury prize. The film also won "Best First Feature" at the 1996 Independent Spirit Awards. In 2015, he published Independent Ed, an inside look at his two decades as a pioneer in independent filmmaking. A Kid from Marlboro Road is his first novel, based on his childhood memories and the Irish American communities of the Bronx and Long Island. Burns lives in New York City with his wife and two children.