Brother by David Chariandy🍁
A CANADA READS 2019 FINALIST
A Penguin Book Club Pick
Winner of the 2017 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, David Chariandy's Brother is his intensely beautiful, searingly powerful, and tightly constructed second novel, exploring 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.
With shimmering prose and mesmerizing precision, David Chariandy takes us inside the lives of Michael and Francis. They are the sons of Trinidadian immigrants, their father has disappeared and their mother works double, sometimes triple shifts so her boys might fulfill the elusive promise of their adopted home.
Coming of age in The Park, a cluster of town houses and leaning concrete towers in the disparaged outskirts of a sprawling city, Michael and Francis battle against the careless prejudices and low expectations that confront them as young men of black and brown ancestry--teachers stream them into general classes; shopkeepers see them only as thieves; and strangers quicken their pace when the brothers are behind them. Always Michael and Francis escape into the cool air of the Rouge Valley, a scar of green wilderness that cuts through their neighbourhood, where they are free to imagine better lives for themselves.
Propelled by the pulsing beats and styles of hip hop, Francis, the older of the two brothers, dreams of a future in music. Michael's dreams are of Aisha, the smartest girl in their high school whose own eyes are firmly set on a life elsewhere. But the bright hopes of all three are violently, irrevocably thwarted by a tragic shooting, and the police crackdown and suffocating suspicion that follow.
With devastating emotional force David Chariandy, a unique and exciting voice in Canadian literature, crafts a heartbreaking and timely story about the profound love that exists between brothers and the senseless loss of lives cut short with the shot of a gun.
“Chariandy's second novel, Brother . . . is a supremely moving and exquisitely crafted portrait of his hometown. . . . It is a celebration and a reckoning, a study of community and of family and of the ways each relies on the other, and of the power of art to build and the ability of those in power to destroy. It is also an act of literary cartography, an attempt to place Scarborough on the CanLit map, once and for all, and an effort by Chariandy to show ‘the importance of knowing that your world – in its beauty, in its ugliness, in its heroism, in its cowardice – [can] also be worthy of representation.’” —Mark Medley, Globe and Mail
“[Brother is] a beautiful piece of literature—a coming of age story, a meditation on family, a novel of place—but that place is the same much maligned suburb Chariandy grew up in, and the younger brother’s life in a racist milieu is central to novel’s power.”—Brian Bethune, Maclean’s Magazine
“With Brother, Chariandy has written a book worth reading through an entire library to find.”—Hannah Sung, Globe and Mail
PUBLISHER: McClelland & Stewart (May 1, 2018)