One sweltering summer in the Park, at a housing complex outside of Toronto, Michael and Francis are coming of age and learning to stomach the careless prejudices and low expectations that confront them as young men of black and brown ancestry. A portrait of masculinity, race, and sexuality against a backdrop of simmering violence during the summer of 1991.
[A] tightly crafted, gracefully elegiac second novel ... Chariandy’s writing is accomplished and confident: every word hits its mark ... Brother is an exquisite novel, crafted by a writer as talented and precise as Junot Díaz and Dinaw Mengestu. It has a beating heart and a sharp tongue. It is elegant, vital, indubitably dope—the most moving book I’ve read in a year.
...hardly the first novel to wrestle with the strange confluences of fate and consequence—or even the first to frame [its story] through the eyes of characters whose identities lie at least partly on another continent. But [it does] it with such shrewd insight and graceful economy that the result feels gratifyingly new ... Chariandy (whose previous novel was released only in Canada) traces that loss in paragraphs so clean and pared down, every sentence feels like a polished stone ... [a story] that [doesn't] try to outline or erase otherness but illuminate it, beautifully.
Depicting their tightly bound relationship triangle and its remnants in the aftermath of the tragedy, Mr. Chariandy’s novel is small but emotionally dense, a dwarf star of mourning and regret ... the neat trick of Brother is its ability to explore the disorienting effects of grief without sacrificing any sharpness in its portrayals. Mr. Chariandy’s descriptions of life in the Park—the hangouts, the late-night dangers, the home cooking and most of all the music—have the texture of felt experience. Most memorable is the character of Ruth, whom we see as both a redoubtable matriarch and a confused, heartbreakingly bereft woman. In her strength and her suffering, she seems as ageless as literature itself.