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The Hundred Brothers: A Novel

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  828 Ratings  ·  85 Reviews
With a New Introduction by Jonathan Franzen

There's Rob, Bob, Tom, Paul, Ralph, and Noah; Nick, Dennis, Bertram, Russell, and Virgil. The doctor, the documentary filmmaker, and the sculptor in burning steal; the eldest, the youngest, and the celebrated "perfect" brother, Benedict. In Donald Antrim's mordantly funny novel The Hundred Brothers, our narrator and his colossal f
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Paperback, 208 pages
Published June 21st 2011 by Picador (first published January 28th 1997)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Adelina
Jun 16, 2008 Adelina rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Solipsistic late-90s trash. I hate this entire genre. Imagine if a young Michael Chabon decided he'd make a better William Burroughs than Philip Roth, but just didn't have it in him to do all those hallucinogens and thought maybe a mild Vicodin binge would send him into enough of a creative fit to churn out a couple hundred pages of social criticism. No, on second thought, that would be better than this pap.
Tony
Mar 20, 2007 Tony rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I dream like this: in fragments and loops; in absurdity and utter truth.
Marcus Mennes
May 30, 2007 Marcus Mennes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone that likes to laugh, which is to say everyone, except maybe those that suffer from cataplexy
If you’re like me then you find exaggeration, at least in principle, to be exceedingly funny. A certain type of absurdity is created when too much of something is introduced, when a situation builds & builds to an anticipated level, and then, as they say, goes over the top.

In Donald Antrim’s novel there are literally one hundred brothers living together in a big, sordid mansion. It is a short book without sections or chapters, and should be read, I presume, with some momentum. Within the fir
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Topher
Apr 29, 2008 Topher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: all-time-faves
I fell in love with this novel when I heard Mr. Antrim read from it a the PEN/Faulkner awards eons ago. It is so quirky and frantic. I keep it by my bedside.
Joe
Aug 31, 2007 Joe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Surreal, poignant, and occasionally beautiful.
Billy
Sep 07, 2008 Billy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone with Siblings, but especially XYs
Recommended to Billy by: Anderson Colquitt Dean
Shelves: favorites
THIS BOOK ROCKS, IT ROCKS A FAT MIGHTY HORSE ASS.
Nfpendleton
Oct 02, 2010 Nfpendleton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A simple but brilliant absurd comedy.
Alan Chen
Mar 31, 2016 Alan Chen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
I'm not sure what to make of this novel. It's entertaining, imaginative and certainly surreal but I'm not sure if it says anything deep or an acid-laced masturbation. The narrator, Doug is one of 100 brothers that get together in the old family home for one of its yearly dinners. During the course of the evening they get drunk, into fights, need medical attention, remember their past, have head trips, and break furniture. The brothers range from 30 to 92. Some are more fleshed out than others bu ...more
Jemimah
May 28, 2013 Jemimah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As far as I can tell, Donald Antrim has something of an over-active, yet alarmingly direct, imagination.

Ninety nine of one hundred brothers reunite in their family library for a dinner at which they hope to decide what to do with their father's ashes. The brothers are all individually named but very few are characterised; probably because most of them appear to have some form of personality disorder, addiction or an utterly abysmal ability to interact with other beings. There are squabbles, scu
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Benjy
Jul 17, 2013 Benjy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I got to this one after reading and loving Antrim's other two novels. I waited years to read it because I was hoping he'd come out with another one and I wouldn't need to give up the exhilaration that comes from reading one of his novels for the first time. Eventually, I gave in.

As you might be able to tell from the description of the book, this presents the most daunting of the formal challenges of his books and, though his general thoroughness and intricacy gives way to mayhem more readily (an
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Stephanie Sun
"You wouldn't think a bug race could be so exciting."

You wouldn't think a book by a certified genius would be so vapid and tiresome.

The Hundred Brothers is not plotless so much as personalityless. You can see the author trying really, really hard (including having his main character literally piss on the classics), but this book never makes the case for post-modernism, or itself.

An extra star for originality and ambition of the concept.

I recommend, instead, The Mezzanine for droll stream-of-cons
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Kerfe
Dec 28, 2011 Kerfe rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I had to force myself to read half of this. I can't say it was dreadful--the writing is OK, though nothing special. But I was bored. There was nothing to compel me to turn the page, or even open the book again.

It's apparently supposed to be funny. Maybe you need to be male? (though to be honest, I'm not that crazy about chick-lit either).

Maybe I'm just not hip enough to understand the obscure references.

Anyway, I didn't get it, and really, who cares?
Ryan Chapman
Jan 25, 2008 Ryan Chapman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everyone should read this book. Here's my hook: yes, it's about a hundred brothers. They're gathered in the family library to find their father's ashes and try and achieve some kind of fraternal peace. Every brother is introduced, by name, in the first sentence. There are no chapter or line breaks.
Rosa
Mar 04, 2014 Rosa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Started out strong, but became tiresome for me maybe 1/3 of the way from the end. The humor is what kept me going (in general, anything that makes me laugh will not be abandoned, no matter how disengaged I am otherwise), and the narrator's voice is steeped in somewhat bleak humor rooted in the absurd, my favorite. There are countless profound observations on spirituality, ritual, family, identity, what it means to be a man and a brother, usually conveyed through lovely writing - however, I guess ...more
Austin
Feb 24, 2014 Austin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Doug, the protagonist of this wickedly delicious novel, is gathering with 98 of his brothers in the giant library of their family mansion for a night of food, drink, and hedonistic revelry. The entire book (albeit short at a mere 188 pages) takes place during the course of this night. How does someone have 99 siblings to begin with, where is anyone else in the family, and why this night of all night do they meet? Well, it's never quite explained. We do meet all hundred brothers though, and Antri ...more
Jenny
Apr 11, 2010 Jenny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I read most of this book in one sitting (on a flight), which I think should be recommended for future readers of this book since 1) there are no chapters and 2) the events happen in the span of a few hours and kind of snowball from normal (well.... as normal as can be with 100 brothers involved) to completely chaotic. I think if I read this only in the morning on my way to work, I would have lost the thread.

I wouldn't say nothing happened, but the book seemed to be about character development
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Paul
Jul 05, 2011 Paul rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
You have only to read the back cover of this book to know what you are getting into so do it. It comes well recommended, it's by a "hot" author who publishes stories in the New Yorker, Jonathan Franzen is a fan, I dunno what more I can say. The book is short, 200 pages, funny all the way through, and clearly meant to be taken as a "literary novel" whatever that might be. But 200 pages of funny may just well be too many pages of funny, and maybe we could say the same for the intellectual gamesman ...more
Christian
Aug 31, 2015 Christian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Antrim's The Hundred Brothers is a surreal short story of protracted length. It is a first-person narrative of a man with ninety-nine brothers, gathered in their Gormenghast-like mansion, for the span of early evening to early morning. In some ways it feels like Antrim is relating a dream he had once, taking especial care to describe with Victorian diligence.

Doug, the narrator, wavers between lucidity and a cognitive fugue state. He is quite forgiving of his own character flaws while maliciously
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Jana
Sep 21, 2015 Jana rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
No, seriously, allegory for what? 100 sperms in the library. Talking, bla bla, talking. I didn't get it and thus find it interesting. "Elegant, outrageously imagined, comic... Antrim exaggerates his narrator into hilarious existence." Yeah right The New Yorker critic. You had to look up for those words in the dictionary to make them sound twistedly smarter, and afterwards you probably gave yourself a personal bow, as in, I’ve read this book, I understand it. Applause, applause to myself.
David
Nov 23, 2013 David rated it it was amazing
I love Antrim's writing and this book is just another reason. It's got some differences from the other two I've read, but it evidences what I've come to expect as the Antrim style. There is just such an interesting blend of pleasant reasonableness and meaningful absurdity, and that's when things get weird. It'd be really hard to pick a favorite Antrim, since for me I think it would change based on my mood. Regardless, this one hit the right mood for me at the right time. Loved it.
Sarah
Dec 20, 2013 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a 200 page short story, a farce, that all takes place over the course of on evening. The characters ARE the plot, which is to say, the plot is how a family of 100 adult brothers might interact at a dinner. If it goes any deeper than that, someone needs to explain it to me. I was entertained in parts, but mostly I just wanted to finish it, so I could check it off the list and return it to the library.
Lawrence A
Oct 17, 2007 Lawrence A rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I loved the black humor and the lampooning of various male archetypes as the hundred brothers meet at a banquet dinner to get drunk, brag, fall apart, impress one another, wrestle, fight, form alliances, and cut each other down to size. I was not disappointed to find out that I share my first name with at least one of the brothers.
Jonathan
Aug 18, 2007 Jonathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
99 brothers meet to look for their father’s ashes in the family’s dilapidated library. They fight, they drink too much and one brother will be offered as a human sacrifice. Read this in one sitting or savor the prose and enjoy the surrealist family dynamics.
Cathy Aquila
May 20, 2010 Cathy Aquila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
99 of the 100 brothers have gathered in their deceased father’s library to share a meal and, possibly, to find the urn that contains his ashes. An irreal novel that is lots of fun to read.
Heather
Feb 08, 2008 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I suggested this one for a book club once. I think they all thought I was crazy. I stand by it though. This is really interesting, but impossible to describe.
Matthew
Oct 25, 2007 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the Verificationist and gave this one a whirl. Super funny. And there's supposedly all this Jungian stuff I missed. Whatevs, I'm okay with that.
Emily Brown
couldn't finish. didn't care what was happening to the characters, didn't want to know what would happen.
Brent Legault
May 29, 2008 Brent Legault rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: only children, those who wish they were only children
I'd like my life to be as vast and as strange and as fraternal as this book is.
Marie
Apr 28, 2008 Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who loved "The Corrections"
Bizarre, hilarious, and difficult to describe.
Lisa
Apr 11, 2010 Lisa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Worst book I have ever read.
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Donald Antrim is an American novelist. His first novel, Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World, was published in 1993. In 1999 The New Yorker named him as among the twenty best writers under the age of forty.

Antrim is a frequent contributor of fiction to The New Yorker and has written a number of critically acclaimed novels, including The Verificationist and The Hundred Brothers, which was a finali
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“The problems in describing a person are essentially problems of knowing a person.” 1 likes
“One of the sad features of most close relationships is the decay of intimacy as a function of time, turmoil, and all the little misunderstandings that inevitably occur between people, leading them, year in and year out, toward the same tired conclusions: conversation falters; friendships fail.” 0 likes
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