Older Brother

Older Brother

3.78 (87 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

"This slim and vital novel is a tour de force; it will floor you, and lift you right the way up--I adored it." --Claire-Louise Bennett, author of Pond

During the summer of 2014, on one of the stormiest days on record to hit the coast of Uruguay, 31-year old Alejandro, lifeguard and younger brother of our protagonist and narrator, dies after being struck by lightning. This marks the opening of a novel that combines memoir and fiction, unveiling an intimate exploration of the brotherly bond, while laying bare the effects that death can have on those closest to us and also on ourselves.

It's always the happiest and most talented who die young. People who die young are always the happiest of all...

Can grief be put into words? Can we truly rationalise death to the point of embracing it? Older Brother is the vehicle Mella uses to tackle these fundamental questions, playing with tenses and narrating in the future, as if all calamities described are yet to unfold.

In a style reminiscent of Bret Easton Ellis and J.D. Salinger, recalling in parts Cronenberg's or Burgess's examination of violence and society, Mella takes us with him in this dizzying journey right into the centre of his own neurosis and obsessions, where fatality is skilfully used to progressively draw the reader further in.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 148 pages
  • 129.54 x 195.58 x 12.7mm | 204.12g
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1999859340
  • 9781999859343
  • 3,185,480

Review quote

WINNER - Bartolomé Hidalgo Award 2017 (Uruguay)

"This slim and vital novel is a tour de force; it will floor you, and lift you right the way up--I adored it." --Claire-Louise Bennett, author of Pond

"This is a must-read book (...) a cathartic novel and another step in the consolidation of Mella as a remarkable writer." --El País (Spain)
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About Daniel Mella

Daniel Mella (Montevideo, Uruguay, 1976) is one of the key figures in contemporary Latin American literature. He published his first novel Pogo (Mosh, 1997) at the age of 21, followed by Derretimiento (Melt, 1998). Both books were lauded by critics and quickly gained Mella the reputation of a cult writer, with his unique take on violence and moral decline. He cemented his place on the literary scene with his third novel, Noviembre (November, 2000). After a decade without writing, Mella returned with Lava (2013), a collection of short stories for which he was awarded the Bartolomé Hidalgo Prize, the most prestigious literary prize in Uruguay. Older Brother appeared in 2017, garnering jubilant press internationally and winning Mella the Bartolomé Hidalgo Prize for the second time. It is his first book to be translated into English.

Megan McDowell is a literary translator focusing on contemporary Latin American authors. Her translations include works by Alejandro Zambra, Samanta Schweblin, Mariana Enriquez, Lina Meruane, and Diego Zuñiga. Her short story translations have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Tin House, McSweeney's, Granta, and the Virginia Quarterly Review, among others. Her translation of Alejandro Zambra's Ways of Going Home won an English PEN Translates award (2013), and her English version of Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin was shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize. She has been awarded residencies by the Banff International Translation Centre (Canada), Looren Translation House (Switzerland) and Art Omi (USA). She currently lives in Santiago, Chile.
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Rating details

87 ratings
3.78 out of 5 stars
5 29% (25)
4 38% (33)
3 18% (16)
2 13% (11)
1 2% (2)
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