Susan's Reviews > The Last Brother

The Last Brother by Nathacha Appanah
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's review
Oct 30, 2011

it was ok
Read in October, 2011

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Susan The book deals with a little known incident during the Holocaust. In 1940 a ship sailed from Romania carrying refugees from Europe. When the ship reached Haifa, the British would not allow it to land and most of the Jews were sent to the British colony of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean where they were interned in aprison camp. That part is true. The novel centers on the "friendship" of two boys, Raj, whose father is a drunken abuser, and David, a young boy who lost his family in the Holocaust and suffered from malaria and was quite ill. The most poignant part of the story is the harrid conditions under which Raj and his mother live, the abuse from his father, and the loss of his own two brothers. The "friendship" with David seems a little forced and not well developed at all - as does Raj's impulsive decision to help David escape from the prison camp. The story is told from David's point of view as an old man and so perhaps some of the foreshadowing destroys any emotional responses that I should have had at the end. In some ways, the jungle itself becomes an important character and that was a very interesting part of the book, as was learning about this little-known episode of history. While I enjoyed the read, overall, I wouldn't tell someone this is a "must" read.

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