cover image of The Half Brother

The Half Brother

A Novel

by Lars Saabye Christensen Author · Kenneth Steven Translator


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A mesmerizing novel of love, trauma, and sibling rivalry: "Marvelously rich . . . steeped in European history and charged by present-day anxieties" (Publishers Weekly).

At the end of World War II, twenty-year-old Vera is brutally raped by an unknown assailant. From that rape is born a boy named Fred, a misfit who later becomes a talented boxer. Vera's young son, Barnum, forms a special but bizarre relationship with his half brother, fraught with rivalry and dependence as well as love. "I should have been your father," Fred tells Barnum, "instead of the fool who says he is."

It is Barnum, who is now a screenwriter with a fondness for lies and alcohol, who narrates his family's saga. As he shares his family's history, he chronicles generations of independent women and absent men whom he calls the Night Men. Among them is his father, Arnold, who bequeaths to Barnum his circus name, his small stature, and a con man's belief in the power of illusion.

This prize-winning novel by one of Norway's most acclaimed authors is an "enormous, challenging, life-affirming masterpiece" richly deserving of the accolades it has received (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).

Publication Details

Skyhorse Publishing
Arcade Publishing
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The Half Brother
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