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Brother (2014)

by David Chariandy

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2682276,320 (3.99)26
"One sweltering summer in the Park, a housing complex outside of Toronto, Michael and Francis are coming of age and learning to stomach the careless prejudices and low expectations that confront them as young men of black and brown ancestry. While their Trinidadian single mother works double, sometimes triple shifts so her boys might fulfill the elusive promise of their adopted home, Francis helps the days pass by inventing games and challenges, bringing Michael to his crew's barbershop hangout, and leading escapes into the cool air of the Rouge Valley, a scar of green wilderness where they are free to imagine better lives for themselves. Propelled by the beats and styles of hip hop, Francis dreams of a future in music. Michael's dreams are of Aisha, the smartest girl in their high school whose own eyes are firmly set on a life elsewhere. But the bright hopes of all three are violently, irrevocably thwarted by a tragic shooting, and the police crackdown and suffocating suspicion that follow. Honest and insightful in its portrayal of kinship, community, and lives cut short, David Chariandy's Brother is an emotional tour de force that marks the arrival of a stunning new literary voice" --… (more)
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» See also 26 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
In my opinion, this book is not a page turner. I agree that every book should not be a page turner, but this story could have easily benefited from more colorful dialogue and language. I wanted to see what happened, but found it easy to choose another book when sitting down to read. This doesn’t mean this isn’t a good story, it just isn’t gripping enough. I thank the author for this glimpse into the lives of people in different circumstances than mine. This is a good read, and taught me about something unfortunately foreign to me. ( )
  bearlyr | Jun 8, 2021 |
Brother, by David Chariandy, is an important and timely novel. It is composed with language that is precise and rhythmic. It is a novel that jumps around in time quite a bit, and only provides the pieces which frame the story in the concluding chapters. Once assembled, the story is perhaps a bit thin.

Largely, Brother is character driven and this is where it is strongest. As a character-focused reader, I thought the cast was great, but this 170-page novel didn't give ample room for everyone to be developed as much as I would've liked. I had a good sense of Michael and Francis, the main foci of the story, but would've appreciated more from secondary characters such as Jelly and Aisha.

Overall, this is a good novel. My biggest critiques are that it is disjointed and not developed as fully as I would've liked, but the skeleton of a great story is here, and the life that pulsate through these pages is strong. ( )
  chrisblocker | Apr 7, 2020 |
Brother has two storylines intertwined. One is a family’s life in 90s Scarborough Ontario leading up to the shooting death of the brother (not a spoiler). The other is how the mother and brother left behind have dealt with this loss ten years later. The sad part of the brother’s shooting is that it is still happening today. Marginalized brown and black youth like Francis feel trapped and hopeless about their futures amid seemingly inescapable institutionalized racism and unrelenting police scrutiny. ( )
  Lindsay_W | Dec 27, 2019 |
so good. second time reading this wonderful novel. chariandy has created a vivid and timely story, full of pain and beauty. highly recommend! ( )
  JooniperD | Nov 20, 2019 |
This is a remarkable little book! So much is said in so few words! It takes a special talent to be a minimalist writer and still get so much covered and said. This is a coming of age book about two brothers whose parents were Trinidadian immigrants to Canada. Francis and Michael are only a year apart, but Francis has always taken care of his little brother. Their father had left them when the boys were really young and their mother worked long hours trying to provide for them. The book takes place in Scarborough, Ontario in a mostly immigrant neighbourhood in the summer of 1991. Their mother has big plans for her boys having a chance at a good life, and works long hours to provide for them. But the influences of the gangs and criminals in and around their neighbourhood keep creeping into the boys' realm. Francis is drawn further and further into the gang life, until a tragedy occurs that rips Michael and his mom's world apart. With brilliant and spellbinding prose, Chariarty outlines this coming-of-age story about a young boy growing up in a hardscrabble and dangerous neighbourhood, and how the violence that exists outside the door, escalates and ends up breaking through and ripping the lives of families apart. I am totally in awe of the skill of this writer with this his first book, and so proud that he is another Canadian rising star in the writing world.. ( )
  Romonko | Jul 29, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
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"One sweltering summer in the Park, a housing complex outside of Toronto, Michael and Francis are coming of age and learning to stomach the careless prejudices and low expectations that confront them as young men of black and brown ancestry. While their Trinidadian single mother works double, sometimes triple shifts so her boys might fulfill the elusive promise of their adopted home, Francis helps the days pass by inventing games and challenges, bringing Michael to his crew's barbershop hangout, and leading escapes into the cool air of the Rouge Valley, a scar of green wilderness where they are free to imagine better lives for themselves. Propelled by the beats and styles of hip hop, Francis dreams of a future in music. Michael's dreams are of Aisha, the smartest girl in their high school whose own eyes are firmly set on a life elsewhere. But the bright hopes of all three are violently, irrevocably thwarted by a tragic shooting, and the police crackdown and suffocating suspicion that follow. Honest and insightful in its portrayal of kinship, community, and lives cut short, David Chariandy's Brother is an emotional tour de force that marks the arrival of a stunning new literary voice" --

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