Brother: A Novel by David Chariandy

Brother: A Novel by David Chariandy


In luminous, incisive prose, a startling new literary talent explores masculinity, race, and sexuality against the pulsing beats of hip hop and the relentless heat of summer.

In the sweltering summer of 1991, violence simmers in The Park, a Scarborough housing complex outside of Toronto where Michael and Francis, sons of Trinidadian immigrants, 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. Francis has always been the leader, a surrogate father.

When their single mother works double, sometimes triple shifts so her boys might fulfill the elusive promise of their adopted home, it is Francis who helps the days pass, creating games and challenges, smuggling Michael into his older crew’s barbershop hangout, and leading escapes into the cool air of the Rouge Valley, a scar of green wilderness that cuts through their neighborhood, 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.
A devastating and emotional tour de force, David Chariandy’s Brother is a heartbreaking and timely story about family, social deprivation, and the senseless loss of lives cut short by violence.

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