Friday, March 9, 2018

Brother by David Chariandy

This was a really wonderful little book.  Set in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough it tells the story of brothers Michael and Francis, sons of immigrants from Trinidad.  They are raised by a single mother in low income housing crowded with immigrants primarily from the Caribbean, South Asia and Africa.  Their mother works several low paying jobs just to keep them housed and fed, and always encourages them not to squander their chance by ignoring their education.

Despite her best efforts, Francis, the older of the brothers while dreaming of a future in music is confronted with the prejudices and low expectations that face him because of the colour of his skin.  This results in bursts of anger which are exacerbated by a neighbourhood shooting and a police crackdown that follows it.

Some of the action takes place in this one hot summer.  The rest takes place ten years later when the younger brother's teenaged girlfriend returns to the suburb and tries to get him and his mother to confront the past.

The book is well written, engaging and tells a very moving and real story.  I highly recommend it.

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