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Brothers: 26 Stories of Love and Rivalry



Brothers: 26 Stories of Love and Rivalry

Andrew Blauner (Editor), Frank McCourt (Foreword by)

ISBN: 978-0-470-45889-1 March 2009 Jossey-Bass 304 Pages


"The next best thing to not having a brother (as I do not) is to have Brothers."
Gay Talese

Here is a tapestry of stories about the complex and unique relationship that exists between brothers. In this book, some of our finest authors take an unvarnished look at how brothers admire and admonish, revere and revile, connect and compete, love and war with each other. With hearts and minds wide open, and, in some cases, with laugh-out-loud humor, the writers tackle a topic that is as old as the Bible and yet has been, heretofore, overlooked.

Contributors range in age from twenty-four to eighty-four, and their stories from comic to tragic. Brothers examines and explores the experiences of love and loyalty and loss, of altruism and anger, of competition and compassion—the confluence of things that conspire to form the unique nature of what it is to be and to have a brother.

“Brother.” One of our eternal and quintessential terms of endearment. Tobias Wolff writes, “The good luck of having a brother is partly the luck of having stories to tell.” David Kaczynski, brother of “The Unabomber”: “I’ll start with the premise that a brother shows you who you are—and also who you are not. He’s an image of the self, at one remove . . . You are a ‘we’ with your brother before you are a ‘we’ with any other.” Mikal Gilmore refers to brotherhood as a “fidelity born of blood.”

We’ve heard that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. But where do the apples fall in relation to each other? And are we, in fact, our brothers’ keepers, after all?

These stories address those questions and more, and are, like the relationships, full of intimacy and pain, joy and rage, burdens and blessings, humor and humanity.

Frank Mccourt
foreword xi

Benjamin Cheever and Fred Cheever
civil war 1

David Kaczynski
missing parts 15

David Maraniss
the sensations of jim 31

Phillip Lopate
my brother, life (with apologies to pasternak) 41

Mikal Gilmore
secrets and bones 49

Richard Ford
we were men 59

Ethan Canin
american beauty 65

John Edgar Wideman
doing time 85

Chris Bohjalian
my brother’s a keeper 91

Daniel Menaker
headlock 97

Pete Hamill
a drinking life 113

David Sedaris
you can’t kill the rooster 117

Geoffrey Wolff
heavy lifting 125

Tobias Wolff
a brother’s story 141

Charles D’Ambrosio
documents 149

Jim Shepard
get away from me 157

James Hurst
the scarlet ibis 167

Steven V. Roberts
the roberts boys 173

Dominick Dunne
a death in the family 183

Floyd Skloot
jambon dreams 195

Jay Neugeboren
imagining robert 209

Herbert Gold
king of the cleveland beatniks 221

Gregory Orr
the accident 231

Jerald Walker
sacraments of reconciliation 243

Darin Strauss
chang and eng 251

Nathaniel Rich and Simon Rich
brothers on brotherhood 257

About The Editor And Contributors 263

Acknowledgments 269

Sources And Permissions 271