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The Fortunate Brother

(Sylvanus Now)

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  716 ratings  ·  141 reviews
A powerful tale of a family reeling from the tragic loss of a son, while facing a mysterious murder on their doorstep--told by one of Canada's most beloved voices.

After being uprooted from their fishing outport, the Now family is further devastated by the tragic loss of their eldest son, Chris, who died working on an Alberta oil rig. Kyle Now is still mourning his older b
Paperback, 260 pages
Published September 6th 2016 by Viking
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Average rating 3.70  · 
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 ·  716 ratings  ·  141 reviews

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Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
This a bleak, atmospheric and moving family saga and murder mystery. Set amongst a small coastal community in Newfoundland, Canada, at the heart of the story is the Now family. It is the first book of the trilogy that I read and I did feel my experience would have been significantly enhanced had I read the preceding two books. It is a character driven story that dwells on loss, grief, guilt and the struggles to keep the family together in the face of tragedies and turmoil.

The Now family have suf
Louise Wilson
Mar 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
I did not realise until I started reading this book that it is the third book in the trilogy.

The story is about the Now family who are mourning the death of their son Chris who died while working on an Alberto Oil Rig. Sylvanus (the father)!has turned to alcohol, Abbie (the mother) is facing breast cancer and Kyle (the son) relationship with his sister Sylvie is strained. Then the local bully is murdered and suspicion is on the Now family.

The book is mixed with suspense, emotion, loyalty and tra
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
EXCERPT: . . . his father had been sick - heart attack from working himself to death fishing for cod that were too scarce to pay the bills and so he doubled his workload with cutting and hauling logs for the sawmills too. Heart just up and called it quits. New boat and new truck parked out by the door like hungry dogs, growling for their bank payments. And Sylvie. Good, good Sylvie stepping up to the fates. Came flying from her high paying job of the oil soaked fields of Alberta like Persephone, ...more
Zuky the BookBum
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, 4-stars, made-me-cry
So I’m pretty terrible at writing reviews for literary fiction novels because I’m not particularly eloquent and I feel like you need to be for these books! So please excuse the lack of detail in the following review…

I picked this novel up not really sure what to expect from it. I suppose I imagined a slow-moving murder-mystery with a strong focus on the characters. And guess what? This is a mystery literary fiction, so that’s exactly what I got!

This was a slow going novel, and there is never rea
Nov 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
You remember what I says. You're the fortunate one. You still gets to be with us for a bit longer. The other one – well, he's watching on, somewhere. But we gets to live the riddle a bit longer. Hey, b'y? That's good, isn't it?

Someone asked me the other day what I was reading and I answered that I was immersed in some great Newfie fiction. She looked at me bemusedly and said, “Are you saying that you think 'Newfie fiction' is a genre of its own?” Well, duh. Newfoundland is so removed from th
Sep 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
This is the third in a trilogy which began with Sylvanus Now and was followed by What They Wanted. Readers who are familiar with the Now family will want to read this third installment, but the book can certainly be read as a standalone.

This book focuses on Kyle Now who is still mourning the death of his brother Chris who died working on an Alberta oil rig. The family is a troubled one. Sylvanus, the father, takes refuge in alcohol; Abbie, the mother, is facing breast cancer; and Kyle’s relation
Nov 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, arc
In brief - simple story maybe but great writing.

In full
I'd not read any previous stories by Donna Morrissey so was looking forward to reading this book. This is the story of the Now family who live in an outport in Newfoundland. I had to check on the word "outport" however I quickly discovered that it refers to a small fishing village usually in Newfoundland. Kyle and his family, immediate and extended, come over as very ordinary in the nicest sense of the word. The family has seen tragedy thou
Nov 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley

Review copy courtesy of Canongate Books via NetGalley, many thanks.

I haven’t read the previous two books in the series so came to this fresh. There is plenty of back-story to be fed in and I have no idea how this would suit people who had read the whole series, but for me it meant I could read the book as a stand-alone. I was sucked into the lives of the inhabitants of the small coastal community from the first page - a superb feat of characterisation - and was rooting for them all, even the lea
Aug 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
All my reviews can be found on my blog at www.whatsbetterthanbooks.com

Intriguing, poignant, and deeply moving!

This story is steeped in the rugged history, hardships, landscape, dialogue, and culture that is unique to Newfoundland.

The writing is smooth and flawless. The characters are grounded, raw, hardy and loyal. And the plot has a nice mix of suspense, tragedy, and emotion.

It is, ultimately, a murder-mystery that takes us on a subtle journey through loss, love, grief, guilt, perseverance, co
Kathy Stinson
Sep 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-for-cnib
How is it that Donna Morrissey can take you inside characters whose lives are so bleak, and yet somehow, you love being there?
Jun 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: canadian
I heard a saying recently that we read books to eascape, to get away from it all. I read books from many places that I have traveled to or would like to go some day. For me this book wasn't quite what I expected.

Being set in rural Newfoundland, this book is still far from where I am in urban Canada. Donna Morrissey captures the mood, the dialect, the rough and tough lives of these hardy people. Yet, I also found it a challenge to read, to understand and sometime, even to be empathetic towards th
Susan Hampson
Apr 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: author-reads
This novel was full of surprises for me, from the wonderful language of Newfoundland Canada that flowed effortless as I read it, to the dramatic landscape that felt like it would never be tame no matter how many people lived there, to finding out that this is the third book in a trilogy that I had read and loved as a stand alone novel. Just wow, wow, wow.  
I met the Now family, broken beyond repair through a life time of tragic events that they found impossible to share, even though they had all
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This powerful, beautiful book is one of my favourites so far this year. The latest novel about the fascinating Now family of a fictional Newfoundland small town, it picks up the plot lines started in previous books, Sylvanus Now and What They Wanted, and carries forward. You don't need to have read either of the two previous books, though, to enjoy this one.
The plot consists of two main threads. Matriarch Addie Now has developed breast cancer, and it throws the family into turmoil. They still ha
The Fortunate Son is the third and I imagine the final novel in a trilogy which I very much loved. The characters in the first two books seemed to take on mythic proportions, their passions, crushing defeats and resolute courage framed up against the wild sea and craggy landscape of Newfoundland.

These themes are central to The Fortunate Son as well. The Now family is at odds with one another, separated by grief. The murder of an abusive husband creates unsettling suspicion and spurs secretive a
Mairead Hearne (swirlandthread.com)
'A rich and compelling novel about murder in a claustrophobic Newfoundland community from bestselling and award-winning novelist Donna Morrissey'

There is an immediate feeling of bleakness and desolation in the opening pages of The Fortunate Brother that runs through this novel that Donna Morrissey portrays so well.

Kyle Now is a young man on the cusp of spreading his wings, with the possibility of taking up a place in college. Trying to cope with the aftermath of losing his brother in a tragi
D.A. Brown
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Donna's writing about her family in Newfoundland continues to refresh like a splash of salt sea air. She is so good at transporting the reader to the scene, bringing her characters to life, laying out the story.
That said, this book won lots of awards for mystery writing, and that puzzles me. We have many many wonderful mystery writers in Canada and as a mystery, Donna's book doesn't really fit.
I enjoyed the book very much, but not a mystery...
Liz Barnsley
This is an atmospheric and deeply claustrophobic tale - it had a very literary tone to the writing and a story that flowed out slowly but very beautifully. Full review near publication.
Renée Doiron
Feb 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: canada
Full of promise and very much enjoyed the local patois but I felt like the plot devolved 3/4 of the way through and just became a vehicle for the interesting Newfoundland dialect.
Penny (Literary Hoarders)
2.5 stars?
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for the advanced reading copy of The Fortunate Brother. It had a strong premise, and I own so many of Morrissey's novels, it was a no brainer to request this one. The Fortunate Brother is filled with mainly dialogue and a lengthy amount of time to come to the denouement that was long previously figured out. The beginning was strong, the entire How family is overwhelmed with their grief at the loss of their son and brother, but once the murder o
Paula Dembeck
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the third and final novel in the Sylvanus Now trilogy with the brother of the title being Kyle, Chris Now’s younger brother. As readers return to the Hampden outport in Newfoundland they find a family tangled up in grief, as a heavy cloud of sadness hangs over the entire house. Each family member is isolated in their loneliness, unable to reach out to the others to give or receive comfort.

Sylvie and Ben have gone off back backing and prowling the savannahs in Africa, leaving their frien
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian
I have always loved reading Donna Morrissey's novels, but this one was a particular treat for me, as I have just returned from a trip to Newfoundland and could so vividly picture the setting. I now know what patridgeberry and bakeapple are, and what they taste like. I have experienced run-ins with moose who saunter along the road. I have heard the waves crashing against the rocks on a foggy day. Donna Morrissey already does an excellent job conveying all this but it was a bonus for me to have ac ...more
Apr 21, 2017 rated it liked it
I haven't read the previous two, found the dialect a bit off-putting. Not the best of her's I've read; admittedly I was a bit distracted while reading. ...more
Jack Heath
Synopsis: uprooted from their Newfoundland outport, the Now family is mourning their son's loss when a local bully is murdered. ...more
Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
The family is uprooted from their fishing village in Newfoundland , dealing with the tragic loss of a son and the illness of their mother. As if this wasn't enough, the murder of a local bully changes their lives. This is a very sad, depressing story. ...more
James Fisher
3.5 stars, rounded up. A good story, authentic characters and an Outport setting combine to create an elevated work of contemporary fiction.
Anya Leonard
Good writing, however I was unaware that to understand this book I should have read the previous two novels in the series. Wasn't caught up with any of the characters, unfortunately. Tried to give the book a chance but I think it's just not for me, unless I read the previous two. ...more
Kelsey H
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Atmospheric book about a family and how the past affects the present. Strong descriptions of the woods and area the community live in. The kind of book where you want to "who done it". ...more
Mary Lou
Nov 15, 2016 rated it liked it
The Fortunate Brother is the third book in a trilogy about Kyle Now,who lives with his parents in a remote and rugged outport community in Newfoundland. The family is struggling, two years on, to come to terms with their grief at the death of Kyle’s brother Chris in an accident on the oil rigs.
When an unpopular local man is killed near Kyle’s home, the community closes in, providing alibis for their friends and neighbours. But this incident also highlights how distant Kyle and his father have be
Dec 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
I received an advance review copy courtesy of NetGalley and Canongate Books in return for an honest review.

The story is a combination of family drama and murder mystery but the mystery element doesn’t feel tacked on because the way the various characters react to events (in particular the main protagonist, Kyle) seems believable given their state of mind. The unseen but ever present emotional heart of the book is Chris, Kyle’s brother, who has died in an oil rig accident before the book opens. I
Donna Wellard
Nov 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Oh how I love, love, love stories that emanate from the language, landscape and culture of Newfoundland & Labrador. The trilogy of the Now family comes to a close in this great book - with verifiable hope for the future (thank goodness)-against all odds and after an awful bloody time of it! I love these no-nonsense, hardy, straight talking, loyal characters. They come alive on the page for me and even though there is sorrow and grief there is also great heart and humour. Not only is The Fortunat ...more
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Donna Morrissey has written six nationally bestselling novels. She has received awards in Canada, the U.S., and England. Her novel Sylvanus Now was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and she was nominated for a Gemini for best writing for the film Clothesline Patch. Her fiction has been translated into several different languages. Born and raised in Newfoundland, she now lives in Hal

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