The Last Brother, by Nathacha Appanah (Translated by Geoffrey Strachan) – Book Review

At seventy, Raj is still haunted by the ghosts and sadness that have shaped his life, but there has been one ghost in particular that has made it difficult for him to find peace.  After a dream Raj is prompted to visit the grave of a boy he once knew, a boy who defined much of how he views himself. Finally he allows himself to begin reflecting on the events of the summer of 1945, when he and David  became friends, and get caught up in a devastating storm that brings not only freedom, but heartbreak.

The Last Brother: A Novel, by Nathacha Appanah uses a little known piece of World War II history as the backdrop of this story of friendship that springs up between two boys desperately in need of comfort and each other in 1945 Mauritius. This story will be of particular interest to those who are fascinated by the far-reaching effects of WWII.  Appanah does a wonderful job in portraying the poverty and the island life that contributed to Raj’s family and the larger community largely being unaware of the plight of Jews being held captive on the island. The exploration of guilt and loss were fascinating for me, especially when the adult Raj is determining the responsibility of his child actions as an adult.  To get an accurate read on what’s going on requires careful attention.

The Last Brother is thoughtful, beautifully rendered and translated. Though a slim volume, it nevertheless contains a powerful story between its pages.  Highly recommended.

Read More Reviews At: Devourer of BooksIt Was Uphill Both WaysIndie Reader Houston

1DA652C2516038AE4D02F55645591F39 On My Shelves: New Book Releases   February 27   March 5, 2011

Review Copy.

For more on The Last Brother, by Nathacha Appanah check out more discussion on BOOK CLUB.

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  1. This book sounds fascinating. I’ve read so many books about female friendship that it’s a refreshing change to find out involving a friendship between boys and one that shapes the life of one of the boys involved. I would never have said that I was interested in WWII its impact etc. had anyone asked, but every book I’ve read involving that era is fantastic. And The Lasy Brother sounds like a book I would find riveting!

  2. That cover is quite disturbing. I read quite a lot of WWII books, but I don’t think I’ve ever read one which focuses on one specific friendship.

  3. I just finished writing a post on this, for later this week. It’s a wonderful book, and I love that it’s set in a place I’d never read about.

  4. Though I always say I’m totally burnt out on WWII fiction, I seem to come across so many books that make me wonder if I really am. This book definitely fits into that category. I loved this review and want to check out the book when I can. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it.

  5. EEEK, I have this one and just realized I never read or wrote about it for the bookclub! I’ll be sure to link to your blog when I do read it which will probably be several weeks from now based on my other obligations. Sounds like I have a lot to look forward to!

  6. I loved this book. It was so beautifully written and the story was so heartbreaking. Glad you liked it, too. I will link to your review on War Through the Generations.