Trina's Reviews > The Last Brother

The Last Brother by Nathacha Appanah
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Jul 13, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: fiction-general
Read in February, 2011

As I said in my review in ForeWord, this novel is sweet, with a hard stone pit like a mango. It explores themes of loneliness, isolation, and love while weaving a story around the escape of two boys from brutality and violence. One is Raj, a nine-year-old native boy, and the other is David, a blond child lost amid the humid heat of a Mauritanian prison in which Jewish refugees were locked up when turned away from Palestine by the British Colonial Office in late 1944. When a cyclone creates a breach in the security at the camp, Raj takes David home where he hides him from his father, who works at the prison, til his mother cannot protect them any longer. But the forest they flee into offers both danger and refuge as Raj struggles to get them to safety.
Beautifully written and playing on Hansel and Gretel fairytales, this story captures the magic and drama of childhood as well as its terrors, fevers, and persecutions. It is told from the point of view of Raj as an old man, confronting the lifelong feeling of guilt over the way he made David follow him like a protective older brother.
However, if there is a flaw in this finely told tale, it’s in the first eight pages when the narrator dreams of David grown up. Unfortunately, the voice is more like someone yearning for a former lover or a woman for a lost child than a man remembering a childhood friend. It’s the only false note. Once into the story, we realize we are in the hands of a remarkable storyteller. Fans of international literary fiction like Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy and Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, or even Rudyard Kipling’s Kim, will probably enjoy this story.
2 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Last Brother.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

04/08/2016 marked as: read

No comments have been added yet.