The Brother Years

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2020 - Fiction - 288 pages
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From the acclaimed author of Black Flies and Into the Savage Country and co-creator of top-ten Netflix hit Outer Banks, a powerful new novel of class striving and the precarious dynamics of brotherhood in the Chicago suburbs of the late 1970s.

In our family, there was none of this crap about everyone being a winner, says Willie, the narrator, who looks back on his teen years--and his nearly mortal combat with his domineering older brother, Coyle. In the Brennan house four kids sleep in a single room, and are indoctrinated into The Methods, a system of achievement and relentless striving, laced with a potent, sometimes violent version of sibling rivalry. The family is overseen by a raging bull of a father, a South Side tough guy who knocks them sideways when they don't perform well or follow his dictates. Rivals, enemies, and allies, the siblings contend with one another and their wealthy self-satisfied peers at New Trier, the famous upscale high school where the family has struggled to send them. Evoking their crucible of class struggle and peer pressures, Burke balances comedy, tragedy, and a fascinating cast of characters, delivering a book that reads like an instant classic--an unforgettable story of the intertwining of love and family violence, and of triumphant teen survival that echoes down through the years.

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The Brother Years

User Review  - Publishers Weekly

Burke’s lackluster latest (after Into the Savage Country) follows Willie Brennan through his teen years as he deals with his overbearing brother, Coyle, and their father, who clawed his way up from ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - nancyadair - LibraryThing

Burke writes about "the weird, poor family in the rich neighborhood' and how their childhood was a crucible that molds and toughens them. Central are brothers Coyle and Willie Shannon and the ... Read full review

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About the author (2020)

SHANNON BURKE is the author of the novels Safelight, Into the Savage Country, and Black Flies, a New York Times Notable Book. He has also worked on several film projects, including Syriana, and is the co-creator of the 2020 Netflix hit Outer Banks. He lives in Knoxville, Tennessee.

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