Review: The Brothers by Asko Sahlberg
Title: The Brothers
Author: Sahlberg, Asko
Translator: Jeremiah, Emily and Fleur Jeremiah
Length: 112 pages
Publisher / Year: Peirene Press / 2012 (originally published in Finnish as He in 2010)
Source: Peirene Press subscription
Why I Read It: I have enjoyed all Peirene Press books I’ve read to date.
Date Read: 04/08/12
Although short and concise, this novella tells of a family saga. Although covering but a few days, the novella, through invoked memories, tells of childhood, wars, and growing old. Full of twists and turns and unexpected news, this short contains a lot of story.
Henrik and Erik fought on opposite sides of the recent war over Finland between Sweden and Russia (the novel is set in 1809), and are only now meeting again after that time. As we come to learn more about them and the other members of the family, we learn about how the brothers were raised, and what originally caused Henrik to run away, eventually joining the army.
There were a few coincidences too many, but in all I really enjoyed this short tale and could have read much more about the family. Each member faced his or her own dramas and joys, and each had their own private thoughts and concerns. By showing us a bit of each character they all became real.
Recommended to lovers of epic family sagas, of historical fiction, or of stories about families and how they come together and break apart.