I'm going through my 3rd or 4th reading of this masterful novel. Like a Ken Kasey work it is steeped in the Northwest and epic in scope. Still, the early humor in the book is so laugh out loud funny that just reading a chapter or two at a sitting gives me great pleasure. Full disclosure-I love baseball and big families and there is plenty of both in this tale. Some compare his work to the best of John Irving, but Duncan's spin is so convoluted and funny that it reminds me more of the early writings of Neal Stephenson.
Time for me to guffaw again as I continue my reading of this Great American Novel.
I got this book because a friend wrote me that she had loved it, found it funny and her book club loved it too. I thought it was an uninteresting story, all about baseball and baseball statistics. I read about 1/4 of it and just couldn't finish it.
The Brothers K is a beautiful story. I recommend it constantly (to anyone who will listen) and although some of my friends have said they struggled to get into it, anyone who gets past that and finishes the book agrees that it is incredible and worth the effort.
It takes some pretty big cojones to title your book after one of the great Russian novels of the 19th century. Like Dostoevsky's masterpiece, Pac NW author David James Duncan, who also wrote "The River Why," crafts a sprawling, philosophical, sometimes exhausting family saga centered around the difficulties of family. Baseball, love, war, God, country and other capital I issues are all fair game in this novel, which reminded me of both John Irving and John Updike. The 60s setting (one brother goes to Vietnam) is a little cliched and the book goes on about 100 pages longer than it needs to, but it is mostly absorbing, observant, and thoughtful, if not quite as good as its reputation suggests.
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Using sports, religion and war, the Chance family fairs better or worse as the four brothers follow their own believes and dreams. Taking place from 1950 to the 70's, you will laugh and cry as the family helps each other as their times and lifes changes during the years. If you hadn't read this author before, this book will excite you as you explore the learning curves for the entire family.
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