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Summer Brother

Summer Brother

Summer Brother by Jaap Robben, translation: David Doherty
(World Editions, 2021, 312 pages)

Thirteen-year-old Brian lives in a trailer on a forgotten patch of land with his divorced and uncaring father. His older brother Lucien, physically and mentally disabled, has been institutionalized for years. While Lucien’s home is undergoing renovations, he is sent to live with his father and younger brother for the summer. Their detached father leaves Brian to care for Lucien’s special needs. But how do you look after someone when you don’t know what they need? How do you make the right choices when you still have so much to discover? Summer Brother is an honest, tender account of brotherly love, which will resonate with readers of Rain Man.

A sensitive yet unsentimental depiction of poverty and disability from the perspective of an abled character. - Kirkus Reviews
The book’s language is precise and forthright as Brian observes, and portrays in stark terms, the intense, awkward, and lovely actions of those around him. Sharp exchanges reveal characters who are witty and earnest in equal measure. Summer Brother is a harrowing novel about dysfunctional family dynamics and the universal awkwardness of being a teenager. - Foreword Reviews
A tragic tale of generational dysfunction. - Publishers Weekly

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fiction