Saturday, 28 June 2014

Review: Crimes Against My Brother by David Adams Richards

A brilliant, heartbreaking novel from a Canadian icon that tackles the theme of debt, and what we owe each other, through three unforgettable characters. This is Richards' best and most complex work since his Giller-winning Mercy Among the Children, and a fitting companion to that novel.
     Howard, Evan and Ian are inseparable as boys--so much so that one night, abandoned in the forest by the careless adults around them, and raging against society and the uncaring gods others worship, they seal their undying brotherhood with a blood bond. But soon after, a horrific accident scars each of them in a different way, testing their bonds and leaving each with a debt to be paid. As adults, seeking to rise above debt and advance in life, each man decides upon a very different path--but over time, all three discover they are tied to each other in intricately tangled, sometimes violent, and surprising ways that none of them has been wise enough to foresee.
     In Crimes Against My Brother, literary legend David Adams Richards is at his finest, reprising some of his most complex and beloved characters (such as Sydney Henderson from Mercy Among the Children), introducing unforgettable new ones (such as the beautiful but fatally foolish Annette Brideau; and the wily, charming, money-hungry manipulator Lonnie Sullivan), and weaving a tale of such force, gravitas, complexity, universality, and compassionate understanding that he reaffirms his status as a master storyteller who has, book by book, used his rare genius to create an entire, teeming universe alongside a river in a small northern part of the world.

Hardcover, 416 pages
Published May 13th 2014 by Doubleday Canada

Terri's Thoughts

I won a copy of this book as part of a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.  I was thrilled as I am always looking for an opportunity to be introduced to a new (new to me) Canadian author.

I am at a loss to describe my feelings about this book.  While very interesting it certainly was a depressing read.  I would not recommend this story to those who are looking for an uplifting happy read as this book does not deliver this and should be targeted towards those who appreciate a subtly tragic story.

Centralizing around three "blood brothers" this story depicts the life of poverty and broken dreams in a dead end town.  The reader experiences the downward spiral of all three boys as they become men and the ripple effect of their actions.  I found myself identifying somewhat since I come from a small town and have seen much the same occur.  Rumour become reality while the truth is never accepted.

There was a large cast of character throughout this story and almost all were unlikeable with their personal agenda coming before all.  No more did I dislike than Annette who I thought was garbage from the beginning.  Yet she never really had a chance and that I think was the point to the whole story.  Sometimes circumstance has the ability to determine ones future whether good or bad.

I will say that I am glad that I read this story and I enjoyed the message it conveyed but I do find myself a little depressed after reading it.  I can not iterate enough that this story is not for those who want a happy or even somewhat happy story.  This is for those who have the ability to think a little bit deeper than the words displayed on the page and the ability to see the message it conveys. 

About the Author

 David Adams Richards (born 17 October 1950) is a Canadian novelist, essayist, screenwriter and poet.

Born in Newcastle, New Brunswick, Richards left St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick, one course shy of completing a B.A. Richards has been a writer-in-residence at various universities and colleges across Canada, including the University of New Brunswick.

Richards has received numerous awards including 2 Gemini Awards for scriptwriting for Small Gifts and "For Those Who Hunt The Wounded Down", the Alden Nowlan Award for Excellence in the Arts, and the Canadian Authors Association Award for his novel Evening Snow Will Bring Such Peace. Richards is one of only three writers to have won in both the fiction and non-fiction categories of the Governor General's Award. He won the 1988 fiction award for Nights Below Station Street and the 1998 non-fiction award for Lines on the Water: A Fisherman's Life on the Miramichi. He was also a co-winner of the 2000 Giller Prize for Mercy Among the Children.

In 1971, he married the former Peggy MacIntyre. They have two sons, John Thomas and Anton Richards, and currently reside in Toronto.

John Thomas was born in 1989 in Saint John, New Brunswick.

The Writers' Federation of New Brunswick administers an annual David Adams Richards Award for Fiction.

Richards' papers are currently housed at the University of New Brunswick

1 comment:

  1. I have been trying to stay away from depressing books during the summer - I like light and fluffy during the summer!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings