THE BROTHERS by Frederick Barthelme


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Barthelme’s new publisher is returning to print some of his fiction, beginning with this, his novel from 1993, a tale of marital indiscretion and brotherly betrayal set in Biloxi, a familiar terrain in Barthelme’s dark and contemporary social comedy. When one brother sleeps with his sister-in-law after the other brother takes off on a midlife-crisis jaunt, the situation begins to grow weird. Kirkus was amused by the “scathing portraiture” of the minor characters but exulted over Barthelme’s description of Biloxi with “its tawdry but lovely gulfside edge.” We also measured the advance in Barthelme’s vision, “ a new and fine melancholy never before quite as codified in Barthelme’s fictional world.” There’s the unusual suggestion of redemption, which “gives the book hope and some shape.” The final image of brotherly revenge is indelible, making this, Kirkus suggested, “one of Barthelme’s more haunting novels.”

Pub Date: April 1st, 2001
ISBN: 1-58243-130-2
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Counterpoint
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2001


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