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Brother

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  3,688 ratings  ·  568 reviews
An intensely beautiful, searingly powerful, tightly constructed novel, Brother explores questions of masculinity, family, race, and identity as they are played out in a Scarborough housing complex during the sweltering heat and simmering violence of the summer of 1991.

With shimmering prose and mesmerizing precision, David Chariandy takes us inside the lives of Michael and
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Hardcover, 192 pages
Published July 31st 2018 by Bloomsbury USA (first published September 26th 2017)
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Victoria I am so glad you asked this question. I didn't immediately connect the dots to the biological father, but makes sense.

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4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,688 ratings  ·  568 reviews


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Elyse Walters
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had no idea what I was in for when Nicole at Bloomsbury Publishing recommended this book to me. I can’t thank her enough.
I went in completely blind. Literally seconds ago I read the blurb. I read it twice.
Having read the book myself, this ‘blurb’, made me cry. I know it wouldn’t have without reading the book. But given what I just ‘experienced’ those words penetrate so much deeper.
Kudos to whomever wrote it...and thank you!

Agree- agree- agree with the blurb: it’s “INTENSELY BEAUTIFUL....sea
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Diane S ☔
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Powerful, bold and timely.
"It wasn't just she alone. All around us in the park were mothers who had journeyed far beyond what they knew, who took day courses and worked nights, who dreamed of raising children who might have just a little more than than they did, children who might reward scsrifice and redeem a past. And there were victories, you must know. Fears were banished by the scents from simmering pots, denigration countered by a freshly laundered tablecloth. History beaten back by the p
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Lola
This is what I call a bittersweet story through and through. It’s beautiful, the relationship between the two brothers tremendously touching, and yet it’s also harrowing and frustrating. Why does it have to be this way? Why can’t we change the situation? What about love? What… about… love?

I wish I didn’t have to pause each time I’m picking up a Canadian title to congratulate myself for picking up a Canadian title but alas I rarely seem to give attention to non-US books. And that’s a shame becaus
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PattyMacDotComma
4.5★
“You’ve got to be cooler about things, and not put everything out on your face all the time. You’ve got to carry yourself better and think about your look. Doesn’t matter how poor you are. You can always turn up the edge of a collar to style a bit, little things like that. You can always do things to let the world know you’re not nobody. You never know when your break is coming.”

Brother. Big brother to little brother. This could have been a quote from “Grease”, couldn’t it? But these brother
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Rob
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, favorites
I grew up in the neighbourhood this novel is set in, and am also a child of West Indian immigrants, so this book really resonated with me. The familiarity of the settings, along with the realistic story of living in a low-income suburb, made this all too relatable. I particularly identified with Michael, as he navigated violence, and rumours of violence, that ran rampant within this community, while also trying to hold the best interests of his too-hard worked, sometimes absent, mother at heart. ...more
Khashayar Mohammadi
Absolutely blew me away. From the first page I just knew I'd be utterly destroyed by the end. It just takes a while to get used to the sudden jumps in timeline. Chapters have no headings or identifiable differences from one another to mark whether the new chapter exists in the past or present, so one must read a few pages of each chapter to reorient oneself in terms of plot and storyline.

ABsolutely incredible. one of my all time canadian favorites. I highly recommend it.
Thomas
3.5 stars

A tightly-written novella that explores pressing topics like race, immigration, masculinity, and more within a small family living in Canada. The story revolves around two brothers, Michael and Francis, the sons of Trinidadian immigrants, of whom their father has disappeared and their mother works tireless hours so her sons can survive. The novel follows Michael and Francis as they come of age surrounded by hip hop music and potential romantic interests, as well as the anti-black prejud
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Matthew Quann
David Chariandy's buzzed-about short novel Brother centres around one man reflecting on his Carribean family's life in Scarborough, and his brother's life cut short during their shared adolescence. This slim volume's prose is captivating, imaginatively descriptive, and deeply poetic. Chariandy opts for subtlety and inference rather than long passages of exposition, lending the book a sense of reality. Life, after all, rarely provides answers to some of the most tumultuous events we experience.

T
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Kathleen
4.5 stars. The reviews of some Goodreads friends had previously put BROTHER on my "radar". Canada Reads 2019 bumped this book to the top of my "to be read" list. I want to read the five finalists before the debates begin. I have one more left to read and it is on hold at the local public library.

Praise for BROTHER

"Mesmerizing. Poetic. Achingly soulful. BROTHER is a pitch-perfect song of masculinity and tenderness, and of the ties of family and community."
- Lawrence Hill, author of THE BOOK OF
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Sarah
Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5ish/4 stars.

I thought that this was quite good. I loved how it focused on not only a family, but a community too. The area where this is set is inhabited by a lot of immigrants from different places and their children. They come from all parts of the world but they all make up one community now. What I loved was that sense of lots of different cultures being integrated into the community. I'm from a rural Irish town so everyone I know here is Irish and there aren't other cultures celebrated
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Liz
Jul 22, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley

This novella deals with a young black man living in a Toronto community and trying to move past the death of his elder brother. It’s told in first personal narrative and often in the form of flashbacks to when they were growing up. His mother has never quite recovered from the death of her son. Both are dealing with their own individual grief.

The book is very timely, especially when it delves into the plight of black teenagers, stopped and questioned, just for being. Someone’s always calling an
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Cathy
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary
Brother is an emotional read, not least because, from the outset, the reader has a sense of inevitability that promising lives will be unfulfilled or end tragically. Danger seems always close at hand in the area where the family live. ‘Always, there were stories on TV and in the papers of gangs, killings in bad neighbourhoods, predators roaming close.’ The relationship between the two brothers is beautifully rendered, with Francis acting as protector and guide to his younger brother. There is al ...more
Krista
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, can-con
There is always a story connected to Mother and me, a story made all the more frightening through each inventive retelling among neighbours. It is a story, effectively vague, of a young man deeply “troubled”, and of a younger brother carrying “history”, and of a mother showing now the creep of “madness”.

Here's my awful confession: Whenever I hear that there's been some gang-related shooting in Scarborough, it doesn't feel like a full-blown tragedy to me; you run with gangs, you run those risks
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Lata
Sep 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. Some lovely writing about grief-stricken Michael and his Mother years after the loss of Francis, the Brother of the title.
We get a sense of the summer heat, the low expectations directed at the brothers by their school and shopkeepers, the exhaustion and frustrated hopes of Mother and other parents of colour in the Park for their children as Michael remembers the shooting of a neighbourhood boy one summer evening years before the story opens in the present. This incident spurs Franci
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Reggie
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
A sad novel that is beautifully written. An elegy for a brother lost, and a tribute to those who migrate from far away to lands that supposedly house better opportunities and greener pastures.

Posturing is the theme that will always come to mind when thinking of Brother. Is Masculinity itself one big posture? Is it necessary? Are men the only ones posturing or are we all doing it?

Plenty of questions to answer and more thoughts to come.
Ron S
A short novel without a wasted word that packs a powerful punch, exploring issues of immigration, poverty, masculinity. family and racism, set in a Scarborough housing complex. A novel set in the same location, exploring the same themes, that I read earlier this year read like it was written by someone that took a creative writing class (albeit, still a worthy debut). In comparison, Chariandy writes like someone that could be teaching master classes. A great addition to Canadian urban grit-lit.
Rebecca
Canadian author David Chariandy’s second novel was longlisted for the Giller Prize and won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Narrator Michael and his older brother Francis grew up in the early 1980s in The Park, a slightly dodgy community outside Toronto. Their single mother, Ruth, is a Trinidadian immigrant who worked long shifts as a cleaner to support the family after their father left early on. From the first pages we know that Francis is an absence, but don’t find out why until nearl ...more
Eric Anderson
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's difficult to capture the slow-burning sense of alienation that someone can feel within family life, but in “Brother” David Chariandy powerfully depicts the story of a working class mother and her two sons in a way that gives a fully rounded sense of this. Michael lives with his grieving and fragile mother in a tower block in Scarborough, a district of Toronto with a high immigrant population. He still sleeps in the bunk bed of his childhood, but now the top bunk is empty and gradually we di ...more
Allison
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of a life, lives, that differ immensely from my own. And while, of course, I'll never know what that life is like to live, I believe that this book is as good as any I've ready to help me taste it just a little bit.

The book has left me a bit speechless. Such talent in writing, and such a story. I can't stop thinking about it, and I doubt I will anytime soon. This is a book that completely engulfed me, ate me whole. I loved it.
Lena♥Ribka
Heartbreakingly beautiful.



This book is incredible. An extremely emotional, powerful, evocative and heart-rending piece of prose. Yes, I'm an emotional mess now. But really, guys, what a great book, and what a talented author. It was worth every single tear. Hats off.

I should write more, I know, and maybe I'll do it later, when I gather my thoughts.

**Copy provided by the Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**
Nicky
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5* rounded up.

A story of a lost brother and the subsequent 'complicated grief' within a poor immigrant community.
This was a short but tragic and powerful novel which I could not put down - such beautiful writing.
Leah
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The failure of the dream...

A young man goes to meet an old friend who is returning to visit the neighbourhood where she grew up and he still lives. Aisha's visit prompts Michael to think back to his childhood and teen years in the 1980s, when he and his older brother Francis were being brought up by their mother, an immigrant to Canada from Trinidad whose husband had deserted her when the boys were young. She is strict with the boys, with the usual immigrant dream that they will make successful
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Brandon
OK, book three of Canada Reads 2019 down.  After reading Brother, I’m becoming skeptical of the tagline for this year’s competition – “one book to move you”.  It should probably be, “Canada Reads: Embrace Depression.”

David Chariandy’s novel Brother is an absolutely tremendous, albeit heartbreaking read.  Alternating between the past and the present, Chariandy’s book tells the story of two brothers and their single mother living in The Park – a Scarborough housing community outside Toronto.

I woul
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Cody | codysbookshelf
Jul 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
As a reviewer, I try to be open and honest about my potential biases. One of those is my inherent distrust of the novella. I have read some excellent novellas, but I find most of them wanting; somehow they usually feel overlong and too short. Brother, out today, feels a little like that.

Coming in at a relatively scant 190 pages, this is a literary tale of immigration and racism and police brutality and the wealth gap, all vital and important topics in today’s society. And though this story takes
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Erin Glover
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Terrorized, shell-shocked, just like the brothers’ single mother from Trinidad who walked barefoot to the river’s edge and stared for hours, hopeless, I closed the book. Chariandy paints a solemn picture of life in a ramshackle housing complex in Canada invaded by poverty and shootings. Named the Park, it is itself a pariah, as are those who inhabit it.

Francis is Michael’s, the narrator’s, older brother. When the two of them witness their friend’s shooting death in the Park, Francis is never th
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Sarah
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
It’s kind of a cliché for me to say this, but this slim novel packs a heavy emotional punch. The prose is sparse but beautiful and almost dreamlike at times, and seems quite fitting to the subject matter - how the family deal with the aftermath of a devastating incident and the impact it has on them.

I would point anyone interested in this in the direction of ns510's excellent review, as I don't know quite how to convey my feelings on this myself.
Jennifer
this book is heartbreakingly good, evocative, timely. necessary!

the novel has been longlisted for canada's $100,000 giller prize, and it is now my frontrunner.

chariandy is a beautiful writer.
❤
Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book of this year's Canada Reads shortlist that I've read so far, and with just over a week left before the debates begin, I'm hoping I'll still be able to manage fitting in the other three books.

Brother is an apt name for this small novel because it is about a younger brother, about his older brother. On its own it stands firmly, but because it's set in Scarborough I felt like it moved me especially. I only lived there until I was seven years old but I know the place intimate
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Joachim Stoop
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3,75

'Raj blinked, looked at Jelly and Dru, looked around at the others all up on their feet now. Trance, Kev, Raj, Dru. Gene. Had I recognized it only then? We were losers and neighbourhood schemers. We were the children of the help, without futures. We were, none of us, what our parents wanted us to be. We were not what any other adults wanted us to be. We were nobodies, or else, somehow, a city.'
❀ Susan G
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-reads
More fulsome review pending: This heartbreaking story set in the gritty Jane and Finch projects tells the story of a family, a mom fighting to support and raise her two boys alone, an older brother trying to find himself and support those that he loves and a younger brother looking up to him and growing up in the face of so many challenges. This truly was a book that opened my eyes and would have been a great book to debate at Canada Reads.
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Literary Fiction ...: Buddy Read: Brother 89 67 Mar 13, 2019 04:14PM  
The BBC LBP: Brother 1 4 Dec 05, 2018 02:14PM  
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David Chariandy is a Canadian writer and one of the co-founders of Commodore Books.

His debut novel Soucouyant was nominated for ten literary prizes and awards, including the 2009 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (longlisted), the 2007 Scotiabank Giller Prize (longlisted), the 2007 Governor General's Award for Fiction (finalist), the 2007 ForeWord Book of the Year Award for literary ficti
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“Memory’s the muscle sting of now.” 3 likes
“But of course, you can’t ever really flee. You’ll forever run the risk of being spotted, if only for a second.” 1 likes
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