A Kid from Marlboro Road


A Kid from Marlboro Road: A Novel


Edward Burns


September 10, 2024 - Now available for pre-order!

An Irish-American family comes to life through the eyes of a 13-year-old boy in this debut novel by actor-filmmaker Ed Burns.


Immigrants and storytellers, lilting voices and Long Island moxy are all part of this colorful Irish-Catholic community in 1970s New York.


A Kid from Marlboro Road opens at a wake, as our twelve-year-old narrator, an aspiring writer, takes in the death of his beloved grandfather, Pop, a larger-than-life figure to him. The overflowing crowd includes sandhogs in their muddy work boots, old Irish biddies in black dresses and cops in uniform, along with the family in mourning. There’s an open casket, the first time he’s seen a dead person. Later, at the bar across the street, he tells a story to the assembled crowd about the day his dad proposed to his mom, and how he almost got beat up by her brothers for it, and then how Pop made him propose twice.


His mom calls him “Kneenie,” and with her husband and older son Tommy lost to her, he’s the best thing she’s got. He sees her struggling with depression and is worried his parents might get divorced, but doesn’t know how to help—since like his brother and father before him he knows he’ll also abandon her soon enough.


Stories cascade between the prior generation’s colorful origins in the Bronx and the softer world of Gibson, the town on Long Island where the family lives now. There are scenes in the Rockaways, at Belmont Race Track, and in Montauk. Out of individual struggles a collective warmth emerges, a certain kind of American story, raucous and joyous.


Includes black and white photographs from the author’s Irish-American New York family history.