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My Brother and His Brother Paperback – 1 Mar 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Bruno Gmuender GmbH (1 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3867870853
  • ISBN-13: 978-3867870856
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.9 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 542,078 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"It is original, and the tone is 'telling'. I find the novel very intimate, wildly skillful and touching. And somehow very Nordic. Hakan Lindquist is a true writer."--Ned Rorem"

"'My Brother and His Brother' is one of the most compelling love stories to be published in a long time."--Grady Harp

this novel immediately establishes its creator as one of the luminaries of contemporary gay literature. A short novel with only six main characters, its richness teases the reader s mind long after closing its covers. The book is definitely a keeper. --Lambda Literary" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Hakan Lindquist was born in Oskarshamn, a small harbor town on the southeast coast of Sweden; it is the setting for his debut novel, the critically acclaimed "My Brother and His Brother". The Book received a literary award - Prix Litteraire de la Bordelaise de Lunetterie - in 2002, when it was first published in France. Lindquist has written five novels, several short stories and one opera libretto. His novels and short stories have been translated and published in several European countries. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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By Benjamin TOP 500 REVIEWER on 16 April 2011
Format: Paperback
At fifteen years, Jonas begins to take an interest in his older brother, Paul, who was killed in 1968 in an accident at the age of fifteen just seventeen months before Jonas himself was born. This interest will consume Jonas for the next three years, until at the age of eighteen his investigations really take off and when he is eventually able to solve many answered questions.

Jonas pursues his investigation with rather like a young Sherlock Holmes, and he soon discovers that his brother had an intense love affair with another boy about a year older prior to his accident; but what he really needs to learn now is whether his brother's death was an accident of intentional, especially in the light of further shocking discoveries. With help, surreptitiously from his parents, more openly from his mother's childhood friend Daniel, and with the aid of Paul's diary and old photographs, Jonas is able to put together all the pieces.

The image created of Paul is of an intense, thoughtful and caring boy with a great interest in nature; and Jonas is very much like his brother, both in nature and, although physically no more alike than just brothers, he is yet very much the image of his older brother.

This is a delightful story, Jonas is totally unphased by the discovery that his older brother was gay, accepting it without question. In his first person narrative Jonas often writes as if he is addressing Paul directly, and increasingly through the account Paul becomes more alive, and the distance between the two boys narrows, at time it is almost as if they are one. Jonas is a very perceptive young man with a very reasoning mind, for a few chapters he creates a moving and frank third person account of the activities and the beautiful relationship Paul and his lover shared.
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A lovely story with the classical sad misunderstanding. The original was in Swedish; this English translation is by the author. I have mixed feelings about this; the English is far from perfect but on the other hand a definite Swedish atmosphere is produced giving the book a somewhat other worldly feel. An English speaking translator would have produced a very different, possibly inferior, result.
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Jonas's brother Paul died before he was born. His parents' grief, though softened by time, has overshadowed his life as their only other son. In his mid-teens, he becomes very curious about this phantom brother: he thinks about him, dreams about him, feels he is growing closer to him in his imagination; it almost becomes an obsession. By finding clues hidden around the house - clothes, letters, diaries, photos - and by questioning his parents and a family friend Daniel, who knew Paul intimately, Jonas is gradually able to piece together his brother's tragic story.

His main discovery is that at the age of fifteen Paul began a love affair with a sixteen year old Czech boy from another school who - improbably - turned up in his art class one day to pose as a nude model (what an introduction!). The progress of their brief but intense love affair is beautifully told through letters and diaries and Jonas's own writings. But a double tragedy destroys the boys' affair before it was allowed to develop into something deeper. To get at the truth of this, of what happened to the two doomed boys, Jonas has to dig deep, not only into the reluctant testimonies of his mother and of Daniel but into himself. A surprise encounter at the end of the story brings some measure of consolation.

Through a simple, intense, spare style the author (this is his own English translation) keeps the narrative focus firmly on Paul and his boyfriend, which he makes credible, touching and romantic, as all first loves should be. What is interesting, however - and for me this was something of a weakness - is how little we learn of Jonas who is telling the story and who is the hero of the present: after all, this book is his emotional journey too.
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I love these Scandinavian writers. A lot to learn from their style. Pared down and yet highly descriptive allowing the imagination to fill in all the gaps. Exactly the stuff that keeps me glued to the book
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I was interested in this book as I'd had a similar idea for a story myself a few years back (about a child investigating the life of a sibling they'd never known) and I thought I would see how this author kept the narrative going. For the plot of this book, I'd give 3 stars - it's quite a gripping idea, but the characters are so thinly drawn that I just stopped caring after a while. As for the style; well, I can imagine the draw behind translating your own work and having control of it in as many languages as possible, but I really feel like this work suffered for it. The translation was stilted and very off-putting at times. The dialogue felt childish and rudimentary to a point that couldn't be put down to simple stylistics. I'm sure that the original text is a much better read, but for those of you who would be reading the English version, I must warn you that you'll need to sit through some pretty abysmal prose and even worse dialogue. As for the cover - honestly, it looked like I'd signed myself up for some sort of Lolita-esque homoerotica, which hey, if that's your thing, then great. It's not what the book actually is (for which I was grateful) so don't judge this book by its cover.

Overall, an interesting story let down greatly by the international publishing process. I'd happily read and recommend a retranslated version done by a professional and sympathetic translator of literature, but I can't recommend this book in its current version.
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