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Review: The Brothers by Asko Sahlberg

October 15, 2012

The Brothers coverTitle: The Brothers
Author: Sahlberg, Asko
Translator: Jeremiah, Emily and Fleur Jeremiah
Length: 112 pages
Genre: Fiction
Publisher / Year: Peirene Press / 2012 (originally published in Finnish as He in 2010)
Source: Peirene Press subscription
Rating: 4/5
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.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. October 15, 2012 9:05 am

    Typically hearing there were “a few coincidences too many” would turn me off, but I’m interested in the basic plot of this one.

    • October 18, 2012 8:48 pm

      Yeahh… it was definitely a great read despite that Trisha.

  2. debbierodgers permalink
    October 15, 2012 11:48 am

    An epic in a novella? I’m in!

  3. buriedinprint permalink
    October 15, 2012 1:59 pm

    I’ve yet to try one of their works, but every single one sounds interesting: glad to hear that you enjoyed this one too.

    • October 18, 2012 8:48 pm

      Thanks BIP. I recommend them – you’re welcome to borrow one!

  4. zibilee permalink
    October 15, 2012 8:55 pm

    I love books that focus around one family, but am worried that this one might be too short for me. I like to explore and explore when it comes to the relationship between siblings. If I had a chance to read this one, I wouldn’t pass it up…but I might not go out of my way to purchase it right now.

    • October 18, 2012 8:49 pm

      Yes, this is definitely shorter than your norm zibilee – but the author does a lot with few words!

  5. softdrink permalink
    October 15, 2012 10:43 pm

    An epic family saga in 112 pages? Sounds interesting!

  6. October 16, 2012 11:22 am

    Loved this one, the storytelling and the theatre-like structure. It’s not my favourite of the books, but it’s up there.

    • October 18, 2012 8:49 pm

      Yes, not my favorite either Charlie, but really glad I read it.

  7. October 16, 2012 12:21 pm

    wonderful bit of story telling isn’t it ,all the best stu

  8. October 20, 2012 5:28 pm

    On the one hand I really enjoyed this one. The setting and the atmosphere in particular. But I did feel that perhaps I would’ve liked a longer story better in this case.

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