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Brother of the More Famous Jack (1982)

by Barbara Trapido

Series: Brother (1)

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561842,066 (3.74)8
Ask today's favorite novelists what books influenced their writing and you'll hearBrother of the More Famous Jackagain and again. Dog-eared copies of this long out-of-print novel are highly prized and shared enthusiastically in literary circles-its return to print is cause for celebration. Stylish, suburban Katherine is eighteen when she is propelled into the heart of Professor Jacob Goldman's rambling home and his large eccentric family. As his enchanting yet sharp-tongued wife, Jane, gives birth to her sixth child, Katherine meets beautiful, sulky Roger and his volatile younger brother, Jonathan. Inevitable heartbreak sends her fleeing to Rome, but ten years later, older and wiser, she returns to find the Goldmans again. "Why did it take me so long to discover the singular joys of Barbara Trapido's novels? Why, for so many years, had I missed these witty, soulful, heartbreaking, expansive, brilliant tales? What have I been wasting my time doing? Reading books that AREN'T perfect? Never again! Since finally discovering Trapido in 2012, I have become a literary evangelist on her behalf. On account of my badgering, all my friends now love her, too. I won't rest until everyone in America has read (and fallen in love with) this fabulous author."-Elizabeth Gilbert… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
It all starts when John Millet takes Katherine to meet friends of his, the Goldman family. Only Katherine knows the mister of the family, Jake Goldman. He is her philosophy professor, but Katherine is meeting his family for the first time. If you can get over the misogynistic overtones of Brother of the More Famous Jack you will fall in love with some of Trapido's characters. I loved Jane. Here is what I mean about the subtle disparagement of women: when Jacob complained that his wife, Jane, does not do enough around the house it set my teeth to grinding after Jane felt she needed to point out that she has brought the group tea, and has made them lunch, in addition to gardening and making music. Trapido says this of Jake, "He gains strength from the myth of his wife's incompetence" (p 25). Katherine dates a man who didn't like women when they turned into mothers. Mostly, I tried not to be too offended by the light banter about rape and abortion.
All in all, I wasn't sure I liked Katherine. She is very unlucky in love and has this air of helplessness that bothered me throughout the entire book. She pines for a Goldman son even though it is apparent he never feels the same way. For six years she dates a married man who is ugly to her. This man left his previous wife because he lost respect for her when she became pregnant with his child. When Katherine finally escapes this relationship she runs straight back to the Goldman family. Why does she keep returning to these people? Because she has fallen in love with the entire family. Even after ten years away from them she finds herself ensconced in their lives. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Feb 13, 2024 |
I was sorry she ended up with Jonathan, who I thought was rather unpleasant. ( )
  LuxVestra | Dec 9, 2023 |
Me lo he pasado muy bien leyéndolo. Unos personajes carismáticos, unos diálogos fluidos y unas situaciones muy peculiares.
(Y muchos insultos y mención de y sexo a raudales). ( )
  essuniz | Jan 2, 2021 |
This is a charming coming-of-age story, about Catherine, an aspiring university philosophy student when we first meet her. Through an improbable coincidence she is invited to spend a weekend with her professor's family. Jacob and Jane Goldman and their children are quirky, eccentric, and occasionally maddening, and take our Catherine in as if she is their own. Catherine's association with the Goldmans is the engine that drives this novel, which has a lot to say about class, women, academia, child-rearing and more. Funny, witty, occasionally heartbreaking; I loved it. ( )
  rglossne | Jul 1, 2020 |
Me lo he pasado muy bien leyéndolo. Unos personajes carismáticos, unos diálogos fluidos y unas situaciones muy peculiares.
(Y muchos insultos y mención de y sexo a raudales). ( )
  Owdormer | Feb 26, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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Since I have no other, I use as preface Jack's preface which I read, sneakily, fifteen years ago, where it lay on the Goldman's breakfast table amid the cornflakes.
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Ask today's favorite novelists what books influenced their writing and you'll hearBrother of the More Famous Jackagain and again. Dog-eared copies of this long out-of-print novel are highly prized and shared enthusiastically in literary circles-its return to print is cause for celebration. Stylish, suburban Katherine is eighteen when she is propelled into the heart of Professor Jacob Goldman's rambling home and his large eccentric family. As his enchanting yet sharp-tongued wife, Jane, gives birth to her sixth child, Katherine meets beautiful, sulky Roger and his volatile younger brother, Jonathan. Inevitable heartbreak sends her fleeing to Rome, but ten years later, older and wiser, she returns to find the Goldmans again. "Why did it take me so long to discover the singular joys of Barbara Trapido's novels? Why, for so many years, had I missed these witty, soulful, heartbreaking, expansive, brilliant tales? What have I been wasting my time doing? Reading books that AREN'T perfect? Never again! Since finally discovering Trapido in 2012, I have become a literary evangelist on her behalf. On account of my badgering, all my friends now love her, too. I won't rest until everyone in America has read (and fallen in love with) this fabulous author."-Elizabeth Gilbert

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