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The Last Brother by Nathacha Appanah
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The Last Brother (original 2007; edition 2010)

by Nathacha Appanah

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2573444,496 (4.12)89
Member:mongoosenamedt
Title:The Last Brother
Authors:Nathacha Appanah
Info:QUERCUS PUBLISHING PLC (2010), Edition: First British Edition, Hardcover
Collections:Books Read in 2012
Rating:****
Tags:None

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The Last Brother by Nathacha Appanah (2007)

  1. 10
    The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne (joririchardson)
    joririchardson: Both books are about young boys who innocently befriend Jewish children imprisoned in concentration camps, without understanding the war or the Holocaust. I would highly recommend both books, especially "The Last Brother."
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English (31)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  English (34)
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The actual writing was very good, I thought, but I felt manipulated by the plot -- so overwhelmingly sad that it seemed like piling on after a while. In the end, this is a very one-note book--and the bleakness of the note doesn't make it any deeper or more complex. ( )
  gayla.bassham | Nov 7, 2016 |
'I was foolish enough to believe that if...God took away those whom one loves, He would offer something else in compensation'
By sally tarbox on 19 July 2012
Format: Paperback
Based on the true story of Jewish emigrants from E.Europe during World War 2, who were sailing to Palestine but turned away by British governors and forced to spend the years as detainees on Mauritius.
This is such a beautiful story, narrated by an elderly Mauritian man, visiting the grave of a 10 year old boy in the Jewish Cemetery and recalling their brief friendship . Raj had a brutal childhood, living in poverty with a violent father and bereaved of his two beloved brothers in a storm. When he meets David, a detainee, they form a powerful friendship, and try to escape to a better life... ( )
  starbox | Jul 10, 2016 |
This is an historical novel about an historical event that I was not even aware of. During World War II, when Palestine was a British protectorate, the British would intercept ships carrying European Jews trying to escape the Holocaust. Some of these Jews were sent to a prison camp on Mauritius,a tiny island east of Mozambique. This novel is the fictional account of the friendship between a 9-year old native boy and a 10-year old Jewish orphan imprisoned on the island. The saga is told by the Mauritian as a very old man, looking back on the events of 1945 and trying to understand the unlikely friendship and the many losses he experienced. I'd recommend this book as a quick read. ( )
  TheresaCIncinnati | Aug 17, 2015 |
Rencontre entre un jeune Mauricien et un jeune juif, David, interné à Maurice pendant WWII. Très touchant et magnifiquement écrit. ( )
  Joe56 | May 25, 2015 |
Although this is a short book, it packs quite a punch and is very well-written. It’s the story of a friendship between a young Mauritian boy and a Jewish boy from Prague who is part of a group of emigrants detained in Mauritius. The book is an engaging read and the author wonderfully develops a sense of place. She opens with Raj, the narrator, looking back at his life and remembering his friendship with David. I’ve read a number of books with a past story and present story, and usually the past story tends to be more compelling. However, here the modern bits are woven in well and only provide glimpses of Raj’s life – so I was actually a bit curious about his future, instead of being annoyed that the author has filler sections.

The first few chapters vividly recreate Raj’s family life at the Mapou cane fields. It’s a very poor life, the family has almost nothing, and their father is violent at times, but Raj has his two brothers. His relationship with his brothers affects him for the rest of the book and provides several motivations, so it is fairly important. Appanah develops the relationship very well, despite only having a few scenes and chapters to do so. The friendship between Raj and David works well, as at first it is tentative and mainly driven by Raj’s slight obsession, although there are some coincidences there. The setting – first at Mapou, then at the family’s isolated forest house (where they move when Raj’s father gets a job as a prison guard) – is also well-written. Descriptions of the parched desert of Mapou, followed by torrential rains, and Raj’s relationship with the forest at their new home are memorably done. Raj’s view of his parents is a little one dimensional – his father is a violent bully, who is also a cringing coward in front of his bosses, while his mother is loving and hardworking, supports his relationship with David, and is an expert at making herbal concoctions, to the point of being almost magic. But these are minor quibbles in an affecting and vividly written book. ( )
1 vote DieFledermaus | Jan 21, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nathacha Appanahprimary authorall editionscalculated
Strachan, GeoffreyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I saw David again yesterday.
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We very rarely notice changes within ourselves at the time, we perceive them later, in the light of events and our reactions to them, but, sitting there as I did, motionless in the dark, I sensed it, a change in myself, I felt as if I were getting bigger, growing, like the trees around me, and it seemed to me that the exhalation of the green, dark forest had something to do with it.
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"As 1944 comes to a close, nine-year-old Raj is unaware of the war devastating the rest of the world. He lives in Mauritius, a remote island in the Indian Ocean, where survival is a daily struggle for his family. After a brutal beating lands Raj in the hospital of a prison camp, he meets David, a boy his own age. David is a refugee, one of a groups of Jewish exiles now indefinitely detained in Mauritius. When a massive storm on the island brings chaos and confusion to the camp, Raj is determined to help David escape."--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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