Prairies Book Review article on The Brothers Silver Calls It “Powerfully Told…. A Soaring and Haunting Tale…”

In the May 29th edition of the Prairies Book Review:

The Brothers Silver by Marc Jampole

Powerfully told… A soaring and haunting tale.

Transcendent and hard-hitting, Jampole’s ambitious literary tale takes readers into meandering lives of two brothers as they try to survive their traumatic childhood. With a mother who is prone to frequent mental break-downs, attempting suicide more than often and a father who is never there, the brothers Jules and Leon Silver’s lives are more than troubled. They barely survive their traumatic childhood, venturing on different life paths later. Will they heal or lose themselves in insecurities and chaos of their earlier lives? Jampole writes with an assured hand as he describes the intricacies of the boys’ bond with each other and their parents. The shifts and complexities that happen in the Silvers’ lives are ripe with ups and downs and make more than a mere backdrop of other people’s tortured stories. With poetic precision, Jampole captures the brothers’ emotions of helplessness, insecurity, and confusion and a sense of a new possibility (experienced by Jules while on his long road trip). He beautifully conveys their constant struggles, inner turmoil, the shared trauma, and the underlying restlessness, and in due process, he not only delves into their sibling bond but also the questions of bad parenting, long-lasting effect of childhood trauma, family ties, relationship woes, mental, physical, and emotional abuse, and how healing is a difficult journey and how some people never heal whereas for others it takes a lifetime of struggle and introspection. The brothers’ past is revealed in a series of flashbacks throughout the narrative. Jules’s and Leon’s resilience make them shine, making the reader root for throughout their struggles of finding a meaning in life. Jules dominates the narrative but loses his shine in front of Leon as the story moves forward.  Realistic and utterly complex, the secondary characters inhabit a vivid, convincing private world of their own, truly coming alive in readers’ minds. As the story progresses, the reader realizes that the novel is much more than two boys’ struggles to get through their growing years: it’s a well-crafted mixture of exploration of childhood trauma, abusive relationships, and substance abuse with in-depth analysis of how with passing years, the nation’s moral fabric is gradually disintegrating, with new-age cultural shifts in the society on the rise. Lyrical, assured storytelling, fully fleshed-out characterization, and moving insights contribute to a story that’s guaranteed to make a lasting note in readers’ minds. Fans of literary fiction won’t want to miss this one.

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