Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Branwell” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.22  ·  Rating Details ·  92 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
A gifted artist and writer, Branwell Bronte, an only son, is expected to make the family fortune and distinguish the Bronte name. Instead, he dies at 31 from alcohol and opium abuse. Painstakingly tutored at home by his father, Branwell and his sisters write endless stories about imaginary worlds far from their bleak parsonage home. As his sisters spin the stories that wil ...more
Paperback, 232 pages
Published November 30th 2005 by Soft Skull Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Branwell, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Branwell

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jul 07, 2011 Kerri rated it did not like it
Shelves: bronte-related
The only time in my life I wanted to burn a book. Makes me wonder what people really think of the Brontes ... according to this book, Bramwell was not only gay (and he WASN'T -- know your facts), but he was discharged from his post for violating his young pupil. (Bramwell was discharged for having an affair with the Mistress of the house!!) THIS mess has Bramwell violating his student (Anne witnesses it), passes around the boy to the stable hands, and if I remember correctly (and, personally, I ...more
Branwell traces the life of Branwell Bronte, the sole brother of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Bronte, from childhood to his alcohol and opium induced death at the age of 31. As the only son, Branwell is expected to make the fortune for the family, and immortalize the Bronte name. He is given no formal education, but is painstakingly tutored by his father, and writes endless stories and poems with his sisters in their small parsonage home.
Haunted by the early deaths of his mother and sister, both n
Matthew Gallaway
Apr 08, 2011 Matthew Gallaway rated it it was amazing
Tragic/beautiful story of Branwell Bronte, a lost but artistic (and probably nonheterosexual) soul who flails through life with passion and despair before basically drinking himself to death at a young age...Martin perfectly captures the ambiguity and mystery surrounding Branwell and his extraordinary sisters, an ambiguity that extends into the shifting perspectives of the prose and even the punctuation itself (for example: Martin never uses question marks).
Feb 03, 2010 Dawn rated it it was ok
Few books are more depressing than the celebrated fiction of the Bronte sisters. This disheartening story about their wretched brother is one.
Nancy Carbajal
Jan 26, 2015 Nancy Carbajal rated it liked it
Poor Branwell...a lot is expected of him. But life starts out with not one loss but two. Not only his Mother, but the oldest Bronte sister Maria who was like a mother to him. Followed by yet another sister....this is what I believe dooms Branwell from the very start. Though the story is a fictionalized account of the Brontes, it is known that Charlotte destroyed much of her families paperwork and diaries, leaving much speculation about the Brontes.
This is one account of a much beloved and much w
Apr 10, 2011 Nancy rated it it was ok
Ok. Ho-hum. Here goes the salmon swimming against the tide again.
This is the first book by Douglas A. Martin that I have read so I don't know his style. If he wrote short declarative sentences on purpose to fit the mood of Branwell, then I think there was some success in that. If this is his style, it is like riding a cog railway up an alp.
Let us assume he wrote these choppy sentences to show the nervous energy and confusion of Branwell. I didn't feel that he wrote in enough depth and somethi
Mar 07, 2015 Rainey rated it it was ok
Shelves: 150-in-2015
Despite very high hopes, I was unable to finish Branwell. An abbreviated tome to the life of the sole Bronte brother, Martin's offering read more like a regurgitated biography pulled from an encyclopedia entry and stretched in order to accommodate a freshman-English essay. More so than the lackluster way in which Branwell is presented- with little fact to back the events herein, according to other readers- I troubled over the puerile structure given to these sentences. With a voice that seems to ...more
Jul 02, 2008 Megan rated it liked it
This was an interesting approach to bringing the character of Branwell to life. The crux of his dissipation in this story seems to lean heavily on his sexual ecapades. They are alluded to and infect his sisters' journey into writing, which was a different perspective on their writing. I think it would be helpful to have some knowledge of Bronte history as it is not biographically detailed as it is beautifully written. The prose is lyrical in its measure. Made me want to go back and read Anne's w ...more
Apr 20, 2012 Shannon rated it did not like it
Shelves: own
I loathed this book. From the way Martin styled it, to the subject matter. I've done a little research and further expect this book is a lot of made up whooplah. I'm all for a little historical fiction, but taking someone so well known as the Bronte's and having better information out there, this story line was just self defeating toward the end. The further I read, the further I disliked it. If this is any indication of Martin's style, I'll gladly never read another novel of his :P
Dec 17, 2008 Bess rated it liked it
It was hard to get into because of the very unlikable antihero--he was not even charming--and the lack of dialogue. The complete lack of dialogue. But it was interesting stylistically and experimental, and honestly it made me want to read a biography of the Bronte sisters, who came out more likable than the brother.
Mar 08, 2012 Larissa rated it it was ok
I didn't love this, but the idea is fascinating and it was written in an interesting unique style. I'd say, read it if you are a huge Bronte fan and want to know more about what they *might have been like.
Jul 24, 2011 Ashley rated it it was ok
Shelves: bronte
Fictitious with streams of fact. The story is a bit choppy, with parts repeated, and many parts not clear. Knowing the Bronte family well I could deduct more than a casual reader, but was still not impressed with the formatting of the actual story. Read with caution.
May 10, 2011 Sara rated it it was amazing
Shelves: small-press, queer
Spare, compelling writing about historical figures I didn't care about until now. Now I think they're fascinating. I'm anxious to read more by Douglas A. Martin.
karen rated it it was ok
Apr 08, 2007
Anne rated it it was amazing
May 13, 2008
Caroline rated it did not like it
Sep 26, 2010
Katie rated it it was amazing
Dec 04, 2016
Althea rated it really liked it
Mar 06, 2011
Rosemary rated it liked it
Nov 29, 2012
JaniceF rated it liked it
Jul 12, 2014
Phillip rated it liked it
Mar 14, 2008
Kyle rated it liked it
Oct 23, 2016
Jennifer rated it liked it
Apr 16, 2009
Laura rated it did not like it
Jul 27, 2007
Laura Lee
May 23, 2012 Laura Lee rated it liked it
The Bronte brother, wild, drunken, druggy. Off beat style of writing but I liked it.
meghan keedy
meghan keedy rated it it was ok
Apr 18, 2008
Caroline rated it really liked it
Apr 08, 2008
Romy rated it really liked it
Aug 23, 2007
Lisa rated it liked it
Jan 30, 2014
Bianca rated it it was amazing
May 06, 2013
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Crimes of Charlotte Bronte: The Secrets of a Mysterious Family: a novel
  • The Brontës:  Charlotte Brontë and Her Family
  • The Brontë Myth
  • Nexus: Ascension
  • A Reader's Delight
  • Gary Benchley, Rock Star
  • The Great Books: A Journey through 2,500 Years of the West's Classic Literature
  • Painted Shadow: The Life of Vivienne Eliot, First Wife of T. S. Eliot
  • A Chainless Soul: A Life of Emily Brontë
  • Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney
  • American Genius:  A Comedy
  • Sounds of Your Name
  • Powr Mastrs 2
  • My Little Pony: Meet the Ponies of Ponyville
  • O Quase Fim do Mundo
  • I Wouldn't Start From Here: A Misguided Tour of the Early 21st Century
  • Tonoharu: Part Two
  • The Sensationist

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »