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Brothers

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3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  930 Ratings  ·  126 Reviews
At the height of China’s Cultural Revolution a powerful general fathered two sons. Tan was born to the general’s wife and into a life of comfort and luxury. His half brother, Shento, was born to the general’s mistress, who threw herself off a cliff in the mountains of Balan only moments after delivering her child. Growing up, each remained ignorant of the other’s existence ...more
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Published September 26th 2006 by Random House Audio (first published 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,674)
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Jessica
I'm almost embarrassed to critique this book, because I felt like I was reading the first noveling effort of a very young author. It had every cliche of both historical fiction and poor storytelling, and about halfway through the book I was reading it only to see how much more ridiculous it would become before the end. All the characters are flat stereotypes, either completely good or fully evil; there's an attempt to explain the Bad Guy's fall, which isn't convincing, and there's an even more i ...more
Marlene M Penner
Dec 12, 2008 Marlene M Penner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
This book was jam backed with love, tragedy, hatred, revenge and forgiveness. I cried at the end. I gave this book a five but maybe it's just the right time in my life to read something like this where I can really appreciate all the aspects this book offered.
Amanda
Nov 14, 2008 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting historical/family drama seen through the lens of three generations of Chinese men - two brothers, one growing up as a revered son, the other a bastard. Their lives continue to intersect through time and relationships.
Nick
May 03, 2007 Nick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been fascinated for a very long time by Asia generally and China specifically. I’ve done a lot of reading about Chinese history, especially Chinese history from the end of the empire to today. Oddly enough, I have learned more about the Chinese people and culture from reading novels by Chinese authors than I have from any work of non-fiction. This book fits into this trend perfectly. Brothers tells the story of two half-brothers, fathered by the favorite son of two of the most powerful fa ...more
Chin
This is an historical fiction book about the China’s Cultural Revolution about a general and his two sons. In Brothers by Dan Chen, Shento one of the narrators ask Budda and Sumi, the one he loves for forgiveness. Similar to Leonka’s situation in The Kitchen Boy, he hid the note, however, it was lost. Shento ask Sumi for forgiveness for harming her and cutting off her tongue because she was an anti-Communist. “Forgive me that I have sinned. Spare me a chance so that I can redeem, act by act, the ...more
Ashley
Jun 14, 2008 Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. Da Chen was such an amazing writer, with his discriptions of what was going on in the two brother's lives, I really felt what they were going through and was cheering them both on.

The thing that kept this book from being a five-star is the ending. You end up wanting both brothers to find happiness - but in the end neither of them do. Not that I think a happy ending could have necessarily fit in with the rest of the book, I just felt empty after finishing the book. In my
...more
Marvin
Aug 04, 2009 Marvin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yet another powerful novel of intense personal drama set in the context of the turbulent politics of Communist China. Told primarily in the voices of two sons (one legitimate & one illegitimate, orphaned, & unacknowledged) of a powerful Chinese general, later discredited, and of the woman they both love, it's like a 19th-century Russian novel--or one of Dickens, whom a couple of the characters in the book admire--in ambition, scope, and unlikely coincidences, on the verge of melodrama, b ...more
Quiana Artis
Brothers is a novel about two half-brothers who had no idea of the existence of one another. One brother, who's mother committed suicide upon his birth, led a poor and humble life. The other led a life of fortune with the two siblings' father. The two of them shared the natural gift of being a leader. Unfortunately their fates meet in the most tragic way and the brothers are doomed to battle over a bloody game of love.

I would rate this book a 7 out of 10. Some parts of the story seemed rushed o
...more
Sherri
Sep 11, 2014 Sherri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shento and Tan are brothers, albeit unknowingly. Tan was born to a general in the military and grew up privileged. While Shento, who was also the son of the general, was born to the general's mistress. She threw herself off the cliff right after giving birth because she did not want to be an unwed mother. Shento lives with a couple that takes him in for a few years But in a natural disaster, he loses both of them and lands in an orphanage where he must work for his meals and his bed.

The chapters
...more
Helen
Mar 16, 2013 Helen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The writer/librarian Nancy Pearl suggests that if you are unsure if you like a book you are currently reading, subtract your age from the number 100 and the remaining number is the amount of pages you should slog through before giving up...well, just because it started out in a promising way, i gave Brothers a few more pages than that before I threw in the towel. The set up is good, the development not so. Two brothers, two lives, one love, who cares....

Johann Liebert
This one caught me by surprise. Originally assigned for an eastern literature class, this one caught my attention because of the use of poetic description, as well as its grand scope, taking place from China's Cultural Revolution to modern times, and covering an entire family's struggle. Nothing too deep or thought provoking, but certainly worth picking up.
Tawnia
Feb 21, 2008 Tawnia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The story of two brothers, growing up in different families not know the other exhists, and how fate brings them together. Both brothers are good and evil. I fell in love with Shento and hated Tao in the the beginning. Then my feelings turned mid-book only to determine that fate was cruel and that I loved both brothers by the end of the book.
Jeri
Sep 11, 2015 Jeri rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ugh! Avoid, avoid, avoid. I couldn't even finish it. Life's too short--though this book will make it seem infinitely longer! I do not understand all the fours and fives! This is the most hackneyed, melodramatic, shallowly written piece of drivel it's been my misfortune to read.
Betty
Jun 26, 2008 Betty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some revealing glimpses into Modern Day China and the monumental issues the country still faces. A most fascinating novel. I found it to be a page-turner.
A N G E L
Feb 17, 2008 A N G E L rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Thought it would give me some cultural and historical insight. The flow of the read was not smooth at all. I was bewildered most of the time.
Iluv2paint
Jan 23, 2008 Iluv2paint rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
this was also a book club recommendation, but I just couldn't get into it. I only read 75 pages and took it back to the library, boring to me.
Sarah
Feb 19, 2008 Sarah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
An intriquing plot poorly executed. After the upteenth cringe-worthy passage, I put it down half read.
Mark
Aug 13, 2012 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my all-time favorite books, ever, across all genres.
David
Jan 28, 2015 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is a fast-moving story that at times approaches and at others bores straight into the sensational and melodramatic.

Brothers generally lacks subtlety, except perhaps in plotting. Still, it can be emotionally moving and it certainly flies by. If you want to read a realistic story set in this period and place, a story that constantly flirts with the unbelievable, then this might be your book.

A sensational, melodramatic adventure story with simple characters and a clever plot could, in theory
...more
Charlie
Sep 26, 2014 Charlie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Critical Analysis: Brothers by Da Chen


Da Chen in his novel Brothers sows seeds of beauty that flourish and abound in a book filled with memorable hardships and glorious triumphs. Brothers explores the role of social influences in the development of the self, the social comparisons of Shento and Tan –– two estranged brothers who take conflicting sides in China’s Cultural Revolution. Within the Revolution is the timeframe when the shooting at Tiananmen Square takes place; which is dealt within the
...more
Dani
Oct 14, 2008 Dani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of contemporary chinese history, action love stories, political intrigue
I've finished this book some time ago and just now have some time to write my review.

This was a very interesting book in the end. I won't give anything away, but it was more or less a combination of the War of the Roses and the Prince and the Pauper without the switching of the main characters to their other worlds, all set to the back drop of the end of Mao China and ending with the Tiananmen Square incident and its after effects. It's also a story of love lost, found and turned traitor throug
...more
Lori
Oct 21, 2008 Lori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Lori by: Queens Public Library
This was an amazing audiobook about two brothers, Tan-born legitimately to a general and Shento, who is the general's bastard son, born in the remote village of Bala. The two brothers find themselves unknowingly propelled by fate to a competition in life, politics and love-in particular a woman named Sumi Wo. Their love for her drives them to war with each other and the nation. It is also a vivid description of the tumultuous times in China during the Communist regime.

The book was long and took
...more
NYLSpublishing
Aug 26, 2008 NYLSpublishing rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to NYLSpublishing by: NYLS Book Review
I remember, at the age of six, telling my play partner that I would hate him for the rest of my life. Though I can’t recall what his infraction was to have been, I do remember his response – that he would hate me even after death. We then proceeded to destroy one another’s toys until we found ourselves sitting amid tangled piles of rubble lamenting the fact that scarcely any decent toys remained to play with. Such are the ways of boys. Such is the nature of hate.

Chen’s, Brothers, opens with th
...more
Shannon
This novel was written during the Chinese Cultural Revolution (within which the shooting at Tiananmen Square took place). Two brothers born of the same father but unknown to each other live very different lives, one poor and revengeful, the other rich and full of familial love. The shared father and grandfathers are in high political positions but get caught in the revolution and their lives change. So, there is lots of politics which isn’t normally my favorite kind of book, but there is also a ...more
Helmut
Feb 24, 2013 Helmut rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: china
Gute Brüder kann niemand trennen

Shento und Tan sind die (Halb-)Brüder, deren Biografie diesen Roman ausmachen. Immer abwechselnd wird pro Kapitel die Lebensgeschichte der beiden sich so ähnlichen Charaktere vorangetrieben. Der eine wächst in einem Umfeld einer hochdekorierten Familie von Generälen und Bankern auf, der andere, ein "Unfall" des Vaters des erstgenannten, durchlebt als Waise die Armut und Grausamkeit des kulturrevolutionären Mao-Chinas. Der Autor Da Chen schildert in einer sehr span
...more
P.D.R. Lindsay
This elegantly written book, a gripping story, is also a stunning insight into the China of Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution. If your knowledge of Communist China was gathered through Western news, then this book is a revelation. If you thought that life was better for many people after the People's revolution then you will be as disappointed as I to read about Chairman Mao's lordly feudal lifestyle and his traditional methods of government.

'Brothers' is about the lives of Shento and Tan, hal
...more
Gabriela Melo
Sim, este é um dos melhores livros que já eu li. Ele prende atenção do começo ao fim. É de tirar o fôlego, com certeza.
O livro conta a história de Tan Long e Shento, dois irmãos que não se conhecem, mas cujos destinos se cruzam. O general Ding Long, durante a Revolução Cultural, tem um filho fora do casamento, Shento que cresce nas montanhas ignorando a existencia de seu irmão Tan, que cresce na capital Beijing (para nós, Pequim) com uma vida luxuosa. E assim vão vivendo até que a situação poli
...more
Mike Madden
Jan 13, 2015 Mike Madden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brothers is a lyrical and moving account of two brothers living very disparate lives as enemies. Da Chen writes with the essence of Buddhist philosophy in mind. His characters seek the redemption of their souls, living under a self-serving and corrupt Chinese government, wherein the individuals often find themselves subscribing to compromised ideologies within the chaotic fury and diseased framework that they are born.
Carol B.
I like this author.
While jumping off of a cliff to kill herself, a woman gives birth to a baby. The umbilical cord gets caught on a tree branch on the way down. The story begins with the life of this child who was saved.

Yes, I definitely read this before. I would not forget an opening like this.
Mike
Aug 20, 2009 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel is great in the way it conveys the cultural revolution of China, but it is hobbled by the absurdity of its many coincidences.

This story of 2 extraordinary half-brothers is engaging, and I enjoyed moving through it and the recent history of China at the time. The book is primarily told in first person narrative form alternating between the two brothers. Their lives rise and fall (for the most part) inversely to one another. That would be coincidence enough, but that they both separatel
...more
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Da Chen (born in 1962 in Fujian, China) is a Chinese author whose works include Brothers, China's Son, Sounds of the River, Sword, and Colors of the Mountain. A graduate of Beijing Language and Culture University and Columbia Law School, Da Chen lived in the Hudson Valley in New York but has recently moved to Torrance, California with his wife, the paranormal romance author Sunni, and two children ...more
More about Da Chen...

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