Brother

Brother

Book - 2017
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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.
Publisher: [Toronto] : McClelland & Stewart, ©2017.
ISBN: 9780771023330
9780771022906
Characteristics: 180 pages ;,21 cm.

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Finalist - Defended by Lisa Ray.


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l
lorraineacasas
Oct 18, 2019

I highly recommend reading this book - many can learn more than a thing or two from the story. It ended up being more than a “Black Lives Matter” or black peoples injustices story.. it was so much more. It touched upon single parent families, marginalized communities, immigration, growing up, etc. So sad and unfortunately realistic. You felt present through Chariandy’s writing - well written. I can’t praise it enough!

m
mcaugher
Aug 20, 2019

Set in Scarborough, events in the life of 2 brothers growing up black, raised by a low income single mother. Think resilience, family values, supportive community. Heartbreaking and memorable. Definitely worth the read.

p
Plooch
Jun 21, 2019

Not sure why people love this so much. Definitely some deft moves: the way siren lights distort the neighbourhood, the dangerous electrical pole to agency on the first page, some aspects of the relationships. But the story's catalyst (drug dealer is shot dead, drawing harsh police attention to the neighbourhood) doesn't really work because it's never made clear why this particular violent episode inspired the cops to be dicks rather than some previous episode. Aren't the cops endlessly dicks in places like Scarborough? Shouldn't their oppressive behaviour have been a steady part of the setting rather than something Chariandy needed to trigger?

Language is also a huge issue. The voice doesn't make much sense, like why does the narrator use near-Victorian English to tell his story, fetching this, placing things upon that, and pausing to guffaw? And how, exactly, do you fumblingly put a condom on inside out? There are a lot of clumsy sentence fragments that don't add the depth the author intends (a tinfoil-in-the-window entry is so clunky it's funny), and the overall story is more a collection of immigrants-in-Canada tropes than anything else. The police shooting at its heart definitely makes it topical, but there's no way this book is worth the $200,000 in prize money showered, um, upon it.

s
spiridiona
Jun 13, 2019

What a great book! What I find valuable about this story is that it gives you a glimpse of the unprivileged realities that are often hidden in a privileged country like Canada. It touches on politically charged topics such as racism, police brutality, discrimination, priviledge, immigration and even mental health, in a subtle -and not so much- ways.
This book won't make you smile,please know that it's emotional and if you are connected enough to the story, it's even enraging and frustrating.

d
daysleeper236
May 18, 2019

Loved it. Kind of like a Canadian version of "The Hate U Give". Highly recommended.

b
blcwrites
Apr 30, 2019

My thanks to the library for ordering this remarkable book from a Canadian author. We know in the beginning that things may not turn out well and yet we find so much dignity in the observations made by Michael and Aisha and Jelly. What a wonderful book and no wonder it is considered a gem here and in Canada. A must read.

m
mclarjh
Apr 20, 2019

For teenage reader; more popular than literary.

d
dirtbag
Feb 13, 2019

Canada Reads 2019

Covers the visible minority experience in a rough neighborhood in Toronto.

b
becker
Feb 02, 2019

This was well written and the author nailed the sense of place and time.

s
Sarah_R33
Jan 25, 2019

While it's true that this book is sad, it's an essential read to understand what life might be like for those living in less privileged conditions. I wouldn't recommend it if you're looking for something light and uplifting, but if you're looking to expand your horizons and step out of your comfort zone, I'd highly recommend this book. It's about loss and hopelessness, but it's also about family, love and the power we have to overcome great suffering.

That being said, I didn't find the ending of the book that sad. Without spoiling the plot, I felt it ended on a hopeful note.

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Notices

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c
csrestall
Jan 24, 2018

Sexual Content: sexual awakening and homosexuality

c
csrestall
Jan 24, 2018

Violence: fight scene, and violence/ murder

c
csrestall
Jan 24, 2018

Coarse Language: various swears

Age Suitability

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s
Sarah_R33
Jan 25, 2019

Sarah_R33 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

c
csrestall
Jan 24, 2018

csrestall thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Summary

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c
csrestall
Jan 24, 2018

Michael and his older brother Francis live in Toronto with their single mother. They are from Trinidadian decent. The story begins with a grown Michael welcoming a visting friend into their home, you can tell from the beginning that somthing is not right in the home. There are various stories relayed from the boys youth. Discussing when they used to play by the creek, a trip to the mall gone wrong, Michael going with his brother to the barber shop, fights and some abuse from their mother, the sexual awakening of Michael, two boys afraid of criminals, a one time trip to Trinidad, a failed reunion with their father, and a failed audition resulting in a brawl. There are also glimpses of the present. Michael talking with his friend Aisha, a rememberance party stopped abruptly, the injury of his mother and her hospitalization. The story comes to a close when the reader learns of Francis' death at the hands of the police. The death of her son causes the mother to have a mental break, and Michael to shut himself off from the world. The ending is quite abrupt as we dont see how the mother copes with the death and what happens to Michael.

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