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The Hundred Brothers

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  640 ratings  ·  73 reviews
There's Rob, Bob, Tom, Paul, Ralph, and Phil; Siegfried, the sculptor in burning steel; blind Albert and ninety-three-year-old Hiram; Foster, the New Age psychoanalyst; and Maxwell, the tropical botanist, who, since returning from the rain forest, has seemed a little screwed up somehow.When PEN/Faulkner Award finalist Donald Antrim brings them and their eighty-nine equally ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published March 17th 1998 by Vintage (first published January 28th 1997)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,626)
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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.
I dream like this: in fragments and loops; in absurdity and utter truth.
Marcus Mennes
May 30, 2007 Marcus Mennes rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
Alan Chen
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
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
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.
aidan w-m
finished this book the same day i graduated high school. it's pretty good. if you're not into the first bit, try to stick it out--the second half is the better of the two.
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.
Surreal, poignant, and occasionally beautiful.
A simple but brilliant absurd comedy.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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 Sours
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 4 of 5 stars
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.
Sep 07, 2008 Billy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone with Siblings, but especially XYs
Recommended to Billy by: Anderson Colquitt Dean
Shelves: favorites
Apr 28, 2008 Marie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who loved "The Corrections"
Bizarre, hilarious, and difficult to describe.
Worst book I have ever read.
John Pappas
Wildly surreal and inventive, intensely psychological at the same time as being broadly mythic, Anrtim's second novel is dark, disturbing and, also, startlingly funny. One hundred brothers (well, 99 -- one's missing) meet for an annual dinner/search for their father's ashes/re-enactment of the killing of the Corn King (a bizaare ritual that harkens back to primitive rituals designed to bring back spring after a long winter). The narrator, Doug, is a destructive, Puck-like force who sows anarchy ...more
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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
More about Donald Antrim...
Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World The Verificationist The Afterlife The Emerald Light in the Air: Stories Doug DuBois: All the Days and Nights

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