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The Brambles

3.02  ·  Rating details ·  528 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
A luminous, panoramic novel of family life a beautiful, often hilarious portrait of motherhood and marriage and a magnificent leap forward from the highly praised author of The Tiny One (Minot has a sorceress's ability to perceive the emotional spirits trapped in nature and a wild, unstrung, lyrical gift The New York Times Book Review).

This is the story of the Bramble fam
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published July 18th 2006 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2006)
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(showing 1-30)
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Aug 28, 2007 rated it it was ok
minot's style of writing puts you effectively in the mind of the switching narrators, siblings dealing with their own neurosis, but doesn't resolve anything, even with the big reveal at the end. i felt a little bit for the characters, but their trivial reactions when faced with everyday life and even life changing events started to piss me off.
Jul 24, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommended
what at first seems like it will be a family melodrama (dying father, shocking secret from the past that will change their lives forever . . . ) is in fact a lyrical, at times hilarious, glimpse at the chaos of family life. best for fans of the domestic novel and depictions of wasp-y east coast life.
Feb 05, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
I really tried to read this book. Even if I don't like a book I will normally finish it, but I just couldn't. I only made it about 50 pages in before I gave up.

Per the back cover, this book is about a woman who is struggling with the death of her mother. However, every character thinks in riddles and lists. The run on sentences were awful and I got so sick of 17 descriptive terms all separated by commas. I guess it was supposed to be poetic, but it was so hard to follow that I would zone out fo
Saurora Mirkin
Jan 10, 2008 rated it liked it
My sister, and any other stay-at-home intellectual mom, should read this book. I am not a stay-at-home mom but I feel that there are situations and scenes in this book that would be best and most appreciated by someone who was. I am enjoying the book, and it deals with a lot more than mommyhood, but it centers on family dynamics and moms would be experts on that. Well-written and observed but slow beginning (put it down several times before pushing through)
I have to admit I'm not completely qualified to review this book because I did not finish the entire copy. I couldn't get past chapter 3.

In my opinion there are basically two different writing styles.

1. People who are blessed with the gift of writing their own thoughts so wonderfully that you feel as if they are your own. Writing done so beautifully that you feel like you can see, feel and touch the characters and settings in a book.


2. College English majors that were well taught on sentence
Jul 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this book, though based on all the other reviews I've read, I may be in the minority on that. The story follows a set of older adult siblings dealing with everyday life following the death of their mother and their father's terminal illness. Sounds like a drag, I know, but it's actually not so dour as all that. Beautifully written from each sibling's point of view, with plenty of funny moments.

What I really loved was the perspective on motherhood. The descriptions showing the tho
Aug 10, 2009 rated it liked it
Minot is a great writer--lots of wonderful lyrical passages in here, especially about motherhood, but the plot was all over the place. And the "conclusion" at the end felt extremely forced. The dialogue felt a bit unrealistic as well. Too clever or something. Still, the characters were engaging and quirky, which kept me reading.
Mar 11, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was just ok. I only cared for 1 of the 3 main characters. It's about the lives of 3 siblings and their parents, but there just wasn't anything there.
Jun 05, 2017 rated it liked it
This had some really great moments. I felt like it was on the verge of being a great book but the ending felt rushed to me. It fell flat.
Jul 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was so good, and to think I was putting it off, thinking “not another Minot novel”! Nancy Pearl put it on her top 10 books of 2006, and with good reason. It’s perfect for readers who enjoy family dramas and love character. Margaret, Max, and Edie are the three adult Bramble siblings struggling with family, work, self-identity, their mother’s tragic plane accident, and their father’s deteriorating health. The focus is really on Margaret, a mother of three who loves her children and her ...more
Bookmarks Magazine

The author is the youngest of the seven siblings in her family and was seven when her mother died. Her father was an alcoholic, and the brothers and sisters had to fend for themselves much of the time. In addition to Eliza Minot's first novel, The Tiny One (1999), which focuses on the loss of a parent, Minot's siblings Susan (Monkeys) and George (The Blue Bowl) have also written about their family crises. The Brambles goes beyond individual coping mechanisms to explore the interactions of a fami

Jan 12, 2010 rated it liked it
I read about this book in O Magazine. I know, I know. But the plot summary sounded so intriguing, and I thought I would love it. Well, not so much. The first 9/10ths of this book sets up (it turns out, clumsily) a plot twist toward the end. I call it a "plot twist," as if there is much of a plot TO twist. Most of the book is spent introducing the characters, who are fairly interesting, but I never felt very connected to them -- maybe that's part of the problem. I kept waiting and waiting for som ...more
Mona Young
Aug 01, 2007 rated it liked it
I actually won this book in a local contest. I don't think I'd've picked it up otherwise.

It's a short book about three adult siblings dealing with the death of their mother, their father's terminal illness, and their own lives. Not really much going on.

This book uses a loose plot (with a weird, annoying twist that doesn't do much except give the author a way to end the book) to tell about the lives of the three siblings.

However, the characters and their day-to-day lives are brilliantly written a
Oct 05, 2010 rated it liked it
The third or fourth book I've read in a row that seems to be less about story and more about skipping around in oddly disconnected moments. The author's habit of not actually writing the big moments of confrontation but only the character's reactions after the fact is irritating and feels very artificial. However - I give this book its stars based on the character or Margaret, and the way the author writes about being a mother - a modern stay at home mother - the dull sameness made tolerable by ...more
Jun 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Minot's writing is beautiful. I can see why she's compared to Virginia Woolf. She's poetic and lush and there's beautiful sections that feel as though we can see a mind at work, sort of stream of consciousness, but not exactly. What happened is that I finished Living to Tell by Antonia Nelson and the characters and the plot in this book just weren't as compelling for me. There was a lot twist at the end that didn't feel earned...just too out of nowhere. But I love stories about families, and thi ...more
Jul 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
I agonized a bit over what to say when reviewing The Brambles. It was by no means a bad book. However, something was missing. I would like to be able to explain just what that was but I am still scratching my head trying to figure it out. I think the best way to describe it is that the author hinted at an underlying meaning but failed to flush out her idea. I never felt as though I really knew the characters, kept expecting to turn the page and understand their motivations and emotions. Upon rea ...more
A book that balances the secret and yet intertwined lives of three grown siblings as they navigate life, grief over their mother's untimely death, and the impending demise of their father. Minot recognizes the absurdity, but also the very human neuroses of each character, including not having each one figure out all their reactions to the tumultuous events or the shifting sands of their lives. *ROUNDED UP FROM 3.5 STARS.
Aug 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Loved it! It’s about 3 adult siblings, 2 sisters and a brother. Their mother has recently died, and their father is dying of cancer. The one sister, Margaret, is Gretchen Woodke. She has 3 young children, and the author’s portrayal of her is so believable and humorous. Nobody is cheating on spouses in this book. Surprise ending: the siblings find out previously unknown information about their births!
Dec 11, 2007 rated it it was ok
This book was ok at best. Not terrible, but not great. I typically read a book to escape day to day issues, but this book was full of boring day to day stuff. It was very eloquently written, but I found myself struggling to get in to it. It starts with an attention grabbing issue, then never revisits. aside from that, I found that I was bored while reading most of the book, then just as the book was getting good, it ended in an unsatisfying way.
Jul 29, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is less about plot than it is a character study of a number of family members. In particular, I found the portrayal of the 40-ish mother to be bang on... made me laugh not because it was a "Nanny Diary" style novel but rather because her barbs and insights into motherhood were so on the mark.
Sep 01, 2008 rated it liked it
This was one I just picked up off the shelves in the library without knowing much about the author or book - though Minot was a common author last name. It was interestingly written, but very slow. Everything happened in the last few pages, even though you knew exactly what was going to happen. It was worth the read for laying on the dock in the sunshine, however. :)
Jun 07, 2011 rated it it was ok
A slice of life in which 3 adult siblings exist, the angst they experience at the different stages of their lives and the miscommunication thru it all. As I've always felt -- we all struggle on different levels, emotionally, financially and socially and Minot makes that very apparent.
May 20, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: any mother
i read some parts out loud to my husband...some of the family moments were very true to form... good to know i am not the only one! probably hard to identify with if you don't have kids but it is still a good read.
Aug 21, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: If you like looking into contemporary domestic life
Spot on when describing motherhood-of-young-children; engaging and credible visions of relationships among grown siblings. Unnecessary plot twists, but these don't interrupt, too much, all that is good about this depiction family life.
Nathan Oates
Feb 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful writing, which, as Mary Gordon points out on the jacket-blurb, recalls that of Katherine Mansfield (and, in my mind, there is no higher praise). Minot manages to beautifully present the minds of a whole set of siblings and her control of group-scenes is extremely impressive.
Jun 20, 2008 marked it as to-read
Going to have to try this one again later... I'm 30 pages in and I can't get past the whiny mom. If I wanted mommy whining I would talk to myself or several of my friends. I read books to get away from my world!
Dec 23, 2007 rated it it was ok
A very quick and easy read which dove into the minds of the characters which I enjoy. Unfortunately, the story didn't present the reader with really in-depth character development so I didn't find the story all that engaging.
Mar 03, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
I did not enjoy this book whatsoever. I could not get past the third chapter. I just could not get into it. There are too many other books on my "want to read" list that I hate wasting my time on books that I absolutely do not find interesting.
Janelle Revier
Mar 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
a fine read. not one i would lobby heavily for others to read, but noce just the same. i enjoyed it. the way she writes of motherhood from margaret''s POV- she nails it! made me wish i had siblings i was close to. :(
Jul 06, 2009 rated it liked it
Was a good story about 3 adult children, their lives, and dealing with the impending loss of their ill father. Unfortunately for me (and those who like "my" books) the juicy stuff didn't happen until the last 25 pages and then there just wasn't enough of it.
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Eliza Minot was born in Beverly, Massachusetts. She lives in New York with her husband. The Tiny One is her first novel.
She is currently at work on her third novel, "American Standard", which will be published by Knopf.
More about Eliza Minot...

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