Editor Andrew Blaunder has gathered twenty-six widely varying essays that explore the meaning of brotherhood and produced a fascinating book in Brothers. Each of the authors is famous on his own merits or by virtue of being the brother of someone who is famous, and most are professional writers. The startling impact of the interaction between an author and his brother(s) provides for engaging reading. In the case of Benjamin and Fred Cheever, for instance, the added effect of having a famous father, John Cheever, makes its mark on their relationship.
The essays move quickly, weaving their messages through time and across the U.S.A. As expected, David Sidaris delivers well-crafted images guaranteed to produce a chuckle. Dominic Dunne’s essay provides a simple view of the life and death of an equally famous brother, John Gregory Dunne. Another author, though not well-known himself, is famous due to his sibling Ted Kaczynski’s terrorist activities as the Unabomber. A sense of mystery surrounds more than one of the essays as the reader is made privy to an emotional confession or revelation.
Being a brother seems to guarantee a relationship fraught with rivalry, tension, and caring. While years amd miles separated many of the siblings featured in this book, their bonds are strong enough to bring them back together in times of need.
This book is highly recommended, regardless of whether you are a brother yourself or have one.
Jossey-Bass, $24.95, 272 pages
Reprinted courtesy of Sacramento Book Review.