Winner of the Toronto Book Award
Ethel Wilson Prize for Fiction
PEN Open Book Awards Longlist
One sweltering summer in the Park, 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. While their Trinidadian single mother works double, sometimes triple shifts so her boys might fulfill the elusive promise of their adopted home, Francis helps the days pass by inventing games and challenges, bringing Michael to his crew's barbershop hangout, and leading escapes into the cool air of the Rouge Valley, a scar of green wilderness where they are free to imagine better lives for themselves.
Propelled by the beats and styles of hip hop, Francis 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.
Honest and insightful in its portrayal of kinship, community, and lives cut short, David Chariandy's Brother is an emotional tour de force that marks the arrival of a stunning new literary voice.
“Skillfully, by travelling at once inward, into the intimate lives of his characters, and outward, connecting the diasporic community to a wider world of postcolonial migration . . . Chariandy suggests it may be possible to endure, and even to thrive.”—New York Times Book Review
“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.”—Dina Nayeri, Guardian
“In this time of gross American injustice, summer's breakout immigrant tearjerker comes from an unexpected place . . . the Toronto neighborhood of Scarborough. Wide-eyed Michael and his cynical brother Francis are taught by their Trinidadian mother to strive against the odds, even as her own broken state belies her cherished ideals.”—Vulture
“In a time of gross American injustice, Chariandy's poignant novel of immigrant struggle plumbs prejudice and the limits of social mobility in an unexpected place.”—New York Magazine
“Chariandy paints his characters with such clarity and sensitivity, it is impossible not to feel every disappointment and frustration with them. This is an evocative study of brotherhood, belonging, masculinity and race, powerful and believable enough to provoke sorrow and anger.”—Big Issue
“Chariandy's often elegiac tone and stately but spare prose establish a compelling melancholic mood. [This] revisitation of familiar territory pays off with its singular observations and insights. A novel with sentences to savour, Brother also rewards an unhurried reader with a poetic vision that while sad is also lovely.”—The Toronto Star
“Brother delivers an epic impact . . . Chariandy has something vital to share about what occurs when young lives are cut down. As readers, it is our duty to listen.”—BookPage
“Chariandy packs a slim novel with an incredible amount of weight. Here are young boys hoping for a future . . . a family wracked with grief . . . promises broken and dreams denied. And in the middle, perfectly captured by Chariandy's sparse and moving prose, one boy trying to make sense of it all.”—Shelf Awareness
“Brother is a surprising, and really shocking novel, unafraid of exploring the overlaps in love, loss, sexuality, race, place, terror and class. It is bold. It is brilliant. It marks the beginning of an absolutely mammoth literary talent.”—Kiese Laymon, author of Long Division and Heavy
“A brilliant, powerful elegy from a living brother to a lost one, yet pulsing with rhythm, and beating with life.”—Marlon James, Man Booker Prizewinning author of A Brief History of Seven Killings
“Mesmerizing. Poetic. Achingly soulful. Brother is a pitch-perfect song of masculinity and tenderness, and of the ties of family and community.”—Lawrence Hill, author of The Book of Negroes
“An important, riveting novel about dreams, families, and the systems holding them back.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Elegiac . . . The characters are well drawn, and the setting is beautifully realized. The result is a haunting story that will linger in readers' memories.”—Booklist
“Chariandy's powerful and incendiary second novel probes the ramifications of police violence on marginalized communities and delivers a nuanced portrait of a family struggling to stay afloat . . . Chariandy imbues his resilient characters and their stories with strength, dignity, and hope. This is an impressive novel written by an author in total command of his story.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)