BROTHERS LIKE FRIENDS by Klaus Kordon

BROTHERS LIKE FRIENDS

Age Range: 10 - 14
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Set in 1950, an autobiographical novel first published in 1978, by an award-winning Berlin author making his US debut. Frank, 7, and his half-brother Burkhard (``Burkie''), 17, may bicker, but they're also allies: Frank attends Burkie's soccer games and goes along when Burkie takes out his first girlfriend; they also sustain each other after Mother's disastrous third marriage. ``Uncle Willi'' drinks, is dictatorial, and married Mother only for her restaurant--where he's too lazy to help. Worse, he beats the boys but provides no legal grounds for divorce. Enduring his presence unites the rest of the family even more closely when tragedy strikes: injured playing soccer, Burkie is so afraid of his mother's reaction that he forbids Frank to tell. It's a fatal mistake: by the time Burkie realizes that he must explain, the sepsis from his internal injuries is beyond control. In Crawford's able translation, postwar Berlin is vividly portrayed, while Kordon's depiction of the family dynamics and the boys' relationship with each other and their friends rings wonderfully true. The straightforward writing distances the reader somewhat; Frank's grief is more observed than felt, while his guilt seems too easily assuaged by his mother. Still, a moving story and a particularly authentic account of the period. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: June 3rd, 1992
ISBN: 0-399-22137-9
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Philomel
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1992




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