The Brothers Silver
The Brothers Silver tells the story of two brothers, Jules and Leon Silver, as they grow up and learn life’s lessons the hard way. Coming from a dysfunctional family, Jules and Leon bounce back and forth living with their mother Ethel or father Edwin. Ethel is mentally unstable and either goes to work and puts wonderfully cooked homemade meals on the table for her boys or doesn’t go to work, leaves the house dirty and the boys with little to eat. This up-and-down pattern of Ethel’s also leaves her out of a job often and creates a vicious circle in which she often attempts to kill herself. Their father Edwin does not seem to be as unstable as Ethel, however, the boys have very little respect for him.
As Jules and Leon grow up, they meet many colorful characters along the way. Jules even does so much as to name the women he had relations with in alphabetical order and describe each of them. Jules and Leon seem to be close, although Leon is Ethel’s favorite child which makes Jules feel inferior and lash out during his childhood and teens. In fact, Ethel calls Leon her “Adonis” because he is handsome like his father.
I found The Brothers Silver to be somewhat of a sad and depressing story. They are just two boys who have very little control over their surroundings and bounce from house to house. The chapters are narrated by different characters, however, they are not labeled with who the narrator is before the reader starts reading. There were several times that I did not know what voice was speaking until I read well into the chapter. For most of the book, Jules narrates the story. It is easy to tell from his dialogue that he is a lost and angry young man who feels he cannot trust anyone, including his longtime girlfriend El.
One of my favorite things about this book is the short stories within the book about Jules’s adventures. Jules goes to so many interesting, and sometimes sketchy, places and tries out many different things, good and bad, along the way. Author Marc Jampole writes with such ease as we picture through the eyes of Jules, the cities and people Jules meets. I recommend this book to anyone who loves a good nostalgic story full of tales and adventures.
|Owl Canyon Press
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