Louise Silk's Reviews > The Last Brother

The Last Brother by Nathacha Appanah
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's review
Oct 08, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction
Read in October, 2011

This is a special book written by a thoughtful woman of French-Mauritian origin translated by a talented English man told in the voice of an seventy year old man living in Mauritius who is retelling the sad story of his childhood. I found Raj to be a fascinating character as he tries to sort out his attachment to a strange Jewish orphan boy interned in a prison camp on the island as the answer to both the tragic loss of his brothers and the brutal life he suffered at the hands of his father.

The writing and the story are fresh and fluid and simple. The language is realistically written like the mind of a nine year speaking about fear, need, love, illusions and understanding. The use of breathless run-on and non-punctuated sentences works wonderfully and even the continual repetition added to events that are plausible at the same time engaging and heart wrenching.

It was a nice touch to have the newspaper account of the historical basis for these events to put the story into its place in the history of WWII. I had to look at a map to find this island off of Madagascar and very far from the port of Haifa.
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