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Brothers: 26 Stories of Love and Rivalry Hardcover – April 20, 2009
The Amazon Book Review
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From Publishers Weekly
This fine collection of essays and short fiction play numerous variations on the bonds between brothers, employing a number of popular writers aging from 24 to 84. Among the most gripping is "Missing Parts," David Kaczynski's account of growing up with the Unabomber, seeking understanding without condemnation or pardon. The nonjudgmental tone runs throughout, from Phillip Lopate's "My Brother, Life," a story of envy, to "Doing Time" by John Edgar Wideman, about his brother in prison. Richard Ford extends the scope to include his Sigma Chi fraternity brothers, and David Sedaris injects some much-needed lightness with a charming tribute to his little brother, "the Rooster," who early on developed an amazing capacity for dropping f-bombs. Daniel Menaker and Gregory Orr, whose brothers both met a premature end, explore their survivor's guilt. Jim Shepard writes about writing about his brother. Other contributors include Ethan Canin, Dominick Dunne, Mikal Gilmore, David Maraniss, and Geoffrey and Tobias Wolff. Among a number of similar titles aimed at sisters, this collection is as nostalgic and intimate as any. At least a handful of these tales will connect with anyone who's a brother, or who has one.
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"Whether or not you have a brother, you’ll enjoy the entertaining, affecting tales collected here." —Penthouse (June 2009)
"Watch the boys in this rich anthology battle and booze, worship, envy, argue and die, and try not to think of your own brother. Brothers, edited by Andrew Blauner, is aptly subtitled 26 Stories of Love and Rivalry; by the end, you’ll wish there were a single word for that fraternal emotion ("lovalry"?) In this sampler with a surprising number of writer brothers (Wolffs, Cheevers, etc.) it’s David Kaczynski’s tale of recognizing the Unabomber in an older Ted that haunts and Rooster Sedaris who amuses, while Phillip Lobate, nails it, calling his brother "my personal metaphor for Life." (Playboy, May 2009)
"Editor Andrew Blauner has brought together some amazing literary lions to tell their tales about their brothers and the result is breathtaking, stunning, moving, more than a little heartbreaking, hysterical in places, and often completely overwhelming….Brothers is a remarkable compilation. Nothing quite like it comes to mind. Its force is electrifying and lasts well beyond the reading: the writers’ voices resonating long after the book is closed." (Blogcritics, April 2009)
"[Brothers] will quite likely appeal to readers in their parental roles, to women with brothers, and just about everybody else in one manner or another." -The Denver Post (July 2009)
"[Brothers] is a wonderful read dealing with the funny, sad, complex, comforting, competitive relationships between brothers. I can't wait for Andrew Blauner to come out with ‘Sisters.’ Highly recommended." (Travel Watch, 2009)
"Among a number of similar titles aimed at sisters, this collection is as nostalgic and intimate as any. At least a handful of these tales will connect with anyone who's a brother, or who has one." -PublishersWeekly.com (June 29,2009)
"This book is like a big brother reminding you of what is important in life. It will make you want to pick up the phone and call out: Brother where art thou?" - The Boston Globe (June 2009)
Novelist Frank McCourt’s rollicking essay detailing each of his brothers’ strengths and weaknesses is a fitting introduction to literary agent Blauner’s assortment of sibling ruminations. First up is the friendly fire exchanged between Benjamin and Fred Cheever, who take turns volleying their opinions on each other and how they separately perceived their upbringing in the shadow of a Pulitzer Prize–winning father. In "Secrets and Bones," Rolling Stone writer Mikal Gilmore reflects on the nature of family ties—a "fidelity born of blood"—during a bittersweet reunion with his "relinquished" brother Frank. Ethan Canin’s "American Beauty" touches on the frivolity and melodramatic intercourse of family. Tobias Wolff’s recollection, one of the best in the compilation, examines the "shambles of a summer" spent with his brother Geoffrey in the wake of their father’s nervous breakdown. David Sedaris offers an amusingly over-the-top, potty-mouthed family fable. Coming to terms with his brother Robert’s harrowingly sad mental illness becomes Jay Neugeboren’s key to happiness. David Kaczynski dissects life with "Unabomber" brother Ted as he describes the drastic repercussions of Ted’s cumulative psychological deterioration. Insisting it was "veneration" and not rivalry, Chris Bohjalian describes his motivation in mimicking his brother’s younger years, while rivalry certainly propels Daniel Menaker’s footnote-laden tale of family dynamics. Blauner (co-editor: Anatomy of Baseball, 2008, etc.) closes the anthology with a hilarious interview of Nathaniel and Simon Rich, who animate the push-pull fraternization of close-knit brothers. An accomplished paean to brotherly love. (Kirkus Reviews, April 2009)