These must-read books about brothers explore the complex bond formed between male siblings.
1. Legends of the Fall by Jim Harrison
“The title novella, ‘Legends of the Fall’—which was made into the film of the same name—is an epic, moving tale of three brothers fighting for justice in a world gone mad. Moving from the raw landscape of early twentieth-century Montana to the blood-drenched European battlefields of World War I and back again to Montana, Harrison’s powerful story explores the theme of revenge and the actions to which people resort when their lives or goals are threatened, painting an unforgettable portrait of the twentieth-century man.”
2. Affliction by Russell Banks
“Wade Whitehouse is an improbable protagonist for a tragedy. A well-digger and policeman in a bleak New Hampshire town, he is a former high-school star gone to beer fat, a loner with a mean streak. It is a mark of Russell Banks’ artistry and understanding that Wade comes to loom in one’s mind as a blue-collar American Everyman afflicted by the dark secret of the macho tradition. Told by his articulate, equally scarred younger brother, Wade’s story becomes as spellbinding and inexorable as a fuse burning its way to the dynamite.”
3. Mr. Wizard: A Novel by Jeff Wallach
“Two brothers. One mother. One big question.
“Two days before her death, Jenny Elliot suggests to her fifty-year-old son Phillip that, being half-Irish, he should be more careful about his drinking. Phillip, along with his brother Spencer, has grown up believing they were the fully Jewish-American offspring of Jenny and her late husband who died in the Vietnam War. Was his mother uttering some dementia-inspired fantasy, or was her true character shining through in her last moments to leave the brothers a clue to their real heritage? After her death, Philip decides to take a DNA test.
“The brothers set off on a genetic treasure hunt in search of who they really are—and what that might mean. Are they purely products of their genetics; or were they formed more completely by their social interactions and upbringing? Are they merely victims of randomness; or are they some combination of those factors? And who, exactly, is Mr. Wizard?”
4. A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean
“Based on Norman Maclean’s childhood experiences, A River Runs Through It has established itself as one of the most moving stories of our time; it captivates readers with vivid descriptions of life along Montana’s Big Blackfoot River and its near magical blend of fly fishing with the troubling affections of the heart.”
5. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
“Hermann Kermit Warm is going to die. The enigmatic and powerful man known only as the Commodore has ordered it, and his henchmen, Eli and Charlie Sisters, will make sure of it. Though Eli doesn’t share his brother’s appetite for whiskey and killing, he’s never known anything else. But their prey isn’t an easy mark, and on the road from Oregon City to Warm’s gold-mining claim outside Sacramento, Eli begins to question what he does for a living-and whom he does it for.”3 comments