What We’re Reading: The Brothers K

The Brothers K - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Title: The Brothers K

Author: David James Duncan

Genre: literary fiction

Why did you choose to read this book?

I have a Goodreads account and this book kept showing up on my recommendations, even though I’d never heard of the author.

In a small mill town in Washington State, a former minor-league baseball pitcher and his Seventh-Day Adventist wife raise five children. The book follows the members of the family from the late 1950s through the early 1970s.

What did you like about it?

I liked the development of all the characters. The children grow to become adults as the story reveals more about the past of older characters too. My favorite character is arguably the main character and the narrator’s father, Hugh Chance. Following characters for decades also provides a window into an earlier time in history.

Did it remind you of any other book, or a movie?

It reminds me of Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen, which also follows multiple characters over a period of time.

Was there anything noteworthy about the book?

It was a New York Times Notable Book. It is written in beautiful but accessible prose. Introducing each chapter or section of the book is a quote from a work of literature or philosophy.

What feeling did the book leave you with?

At 645 pages, it’s a long book, so I was glad finally to have finished it! I thought it was a great book, but felt like the ending, in which we learn what happened to each of the characters years down the road, was tacked-on and unnecessary, which diminished the overall experience of reading it.

Who would you recommend the book to?

I’d recommend this to fans of literary fiction and baseball. I would also suggest that people who are experiencing some sort of significant familial change may find this book to be an opportunity to reflect on their own situations.

What would you pair this book with?

Spicy Indian food and cold, cheap beer.

About Stephen Brooks

Stephen is a reference librarian at Durham Tech. He has blogged previously at acqweb.org and for American Libraries magazine online. He enjoys reading 20th and 21st century literature, biographies and books about sports.