The Brothers K

( 32 )

Overview

DAVID DUNCAN's first novel, The River Why, met with such enthusiastic praise for its journey of self-discovery that it became a contemporary classic, with readers comparing Duncan to J. D. Salinger, Ken Kesey, and John Irving. Yet, as one reviewer noted, "His [style] is not merely a patchwork quilt... His is a genuinely new, genuinely original voice in American fiction, a voice which is not quite like any you've read before." * [San Jose Mercury News] In The Brothers K, Duncan amplifies the considerable ...
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1992 Audiobook cassette New in factory sealed shrink wrap. Abridged, 2 audio cassettes. Read by Will Patton. 180 minutes.

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The Brothers K

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Overview

DAVID DUNCAN's first novel, The River Why, met with such enthusiastic praise for its journey of self-discovery that it became a contemporary classic, with readers comparing Duncan to J. D. Salinger, Ken Kesey, and John Irving. Yet, as one reviewer noted, "His [style] is not merely a patchwork quilt... His is a genuinely new, genuinely original voice in American fiction, a voice which is not quite like any you've read before." * [San Jose Mercury News] In The Brothers K, Duncan amplifies the considerable accomplishment of his first book as he centers this tender and powerful story around a Pacific Northwest family in the early '60s. The Chance family is wild about baseball and cantankerous about religion. Papa is a gifted but luckless minor-league pitcher whose big-league hopes are fading. Mama is a devout Seventh Day Adventist, constantly in motion to save her wayward sons. When a mill accident crushes Papa's thumb, and Mama's inexplicable fanaticism threatens to shred what little the family has in common, parents and children find themselves embattled over the ideals represented by baseball and religion. It is young Kincaid, the easygoing middle child, who chronicles the humor and spiritual beliefs that alternately sustain and confound this family in a small Washington mill town. And it is in his maturing voice, as his brothers leave town to enter one of the country's most bewildering decades, that we hear the inescapable tensions wrought from one American generation testing another's vulnerabilities. Through the Chances, David Duncan asks sublime questions about life, self-sacrifice, and enduring love in an ever changing world.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Duncan took almost 10 years to follow up the publication of his much-praised first novel, The River Why, but this massive second effort is well worth the wait. It is a stunning work: a complex tapestry of family tensions, baseball, politics and religion, by turns hilariously funny and agonizingly sad. Highly inventive formally, the novel is mainly narrated by Kincaid Chance, the youngest son in a family of four boys and identical twin girls, the children of Hugh Chance, a discouraged minor-league ballplayer whose once-promising career was curtained by an industrial accident, and his wife Laura, an increasingly fanatical Seventh-Day Adventist. The plot traces the working-out of the family's fate from the beginning of the Eisenhower years through the traumas of Vietnam. One son becomes an atheist and draft resister; another immerses himself in Eastern religions, while the third, the most genuinely Christian of the children, ends up in Southeast Asia. In spite of the author's obvious affection for the sport, this is not a baseball novel; it is, as Kincaid says, ``the story of an eight-way tangle of human beings, only one-eighth of which was a pro ballpayer.'' The book portrays the extraordinary differences that can exist among siblings--much like the Dostoyevski novel to which The Brothers K alludes in more than just title--and how family members can redeem one another in the face of adversity. Long and incident-filled, the narrative appears rather ramshackle in structure until the final pages, when Duncan brings together all of the themes and plot elements in a series of moving climaxes. The book ends with a quiet grace note--a reprise of its first images--to satisfyingly close the narrative circle. Major ad/promo; author tour. (June)
Library Journal
If John Irving reimagined The Brothers Karamazov as one of his kooky families and Thomas Pynchon did a rewrite, the result might be something close to this long-awaited second novel by the author of The River Why ( LJ 2/15/83). The brothers are the Chance boys, sons of Papa Toe, a minor league pitcher whose crushed thumb is replaced by a transplanted toe, and his devout Seventh Day Adventist wife. Like Dostoevsky's Karamazovs, the Chances speculate on the nature of God, delve into the nuances of what constitutes moral behavior, experience evil, suffer from criminal acts, and, finally, determine that God is love and love redeems. But these are American boys, and although their lives contain some terrible moments, this is essentially a comic novel. Among its many merits, it reflects far better than most fiction the wide variety of Sixties experiences, giving student radical and Vietnam grunt alike their sympathetic due. Baseball provides the central metaphor for this huge hypnotic novel, but although in that sport a ``K'' indicates a strikeout, here it scores a home run.-- Charles Michaud, Turner Free Lib., Randolph, Mass.
From the Publisher
“The pages of The Brothers K sparkle.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“Duncan is a wonderfully engaging writer.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“This ambitious book succeeds on almost every level and every page.”—USA Today
 
“Duncan’s prose is a blend of lyrical rhapsody, sassy hyperbole and all-American vernacular.”—San Francisco Chronicle
 
The Brothers K affords the . . . deep pleasures of novels that exhaustively create, and alter, complex worlds. . . . One always senses an enthusiastic and abundantly talented and versatile writer at work.”—The Washington Post Book World
 
“Duncan . . . tells the larger story of an entire popular culture struggling to redefine itself—something he does with the comic excitement and depth of feeling one expects from Tom Robbins.”—Chicago Tribune
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553470680
  • Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/1/1992
  • Format: Cassette

Meet the Author

David James Duncan is the author of The River Why, which won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award in 1983, and River Teeth, a collection of stories and writings. He lives with his wife, the sculptor Adrian Arleo, and family, in Western Montana where he is at work on his next novel.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 32 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(23)

4 Star

(6)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 32 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2006

    A Vivid, Authentic tale of the Late Sixties, Early Seventies

    A reader recommended I get this book, saying it was in the same vein as the accounts of the late Sixties and 1970 in my books (listed below). I found the stories of the four Chance brothers breath-taking in their variety, edifying in their authenticity. As the years pass,I have been increasingly concerned over the absence of good literature giving candid accounts of those unique times when our country nearly destroyed itself. Mr. Duncan's book is very satisfying, entertaining and, in spots, necessarily disturbing, as it tells its story of those four young men and their family. This book is a must for all seeking to truly understand those unique moments in our history, and told thru the eyes of some of the little people who made it happen. As any of us who 'were there' could attest, it vividly brings it all back, setting a standard for all of us trying to recapture those times for the reading public to aim for. Well done, Mr. Duncan!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2009

    Family, Baseball, The 60s

    This was a new-author award winner and deservedly so. Duncan masterfully weaves family, baseball and the complexities of the 60s in a superb literary style. There's a bit too much detail at times, but he continually brings back characters and sub-plots in fascinating ways and keeps your attention throughout a long read. But it's worth it, to the last page, when you don't want the story to end. This is a brilliant piece of fiction.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2005

    Best Book Ever

    This is my new all time best number one book. I was amazed by this book. It is so good. I can't say enough good things about it. I will recomend this book to everyone I know.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2003

    Through the Eyes of a Teenager

    I picked up The Brothers K as an outside reading book for my highschool assignment, expecting a mediocre read and not much interest on my part. The book started out well, entertaining and funny. As my reading progressed I was hooked on Duncan's flowing rhetoric and the dry wit expressed through those great characters. The Brothers K is a story of life and the progression of life through the eyes of the generic American family, though in their common guises readers can still find a fascination with these characters. Many times the greatest stories are about things so common to us - things we relate to. The words of The Brothers K lie adrift in my mind, often recalled upon for their life lessons. David James Duncan is a true teacher and a storyteller, turning his simple words into an epic.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2002

    The Best Book I've Ever Read!

    What a great story teller! Duncan masterfully develops each character and manages to tap each and every one of your emotions. I fell in love with each character and didn't want the book to end.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 24, 2011

    Beautiful, moving, real

    Baseball has never made more sense... I will never attend church, watch a baseball game, or hang out with my family the same way again. Brilliant.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2002

    Incredible plot and characters!!

    Wow! I had to read this book for college, and I was just dreading reading all 700+ pages of this book, but once I started, the pages just turned themselves, and I was taken aback by the incredible writing style-I have to thank my University for recommending the novel!!!I would say this is an all-time favorite!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2002

    I just have to add another to the glowing reviews

    The Brothers K is definitely on my best ever list. I couldn't put it down, but I couldn't hurry through it either. One of the all time best baseball books, but also a ton more.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2001

    Stunning

    Is this the best book every? Maybe not, but it's high on my list. Read 'The River Why' and this book. Hurry.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2001

    One of my all time favorite books of all time!!

    This story draws you in and creates a scene rich with reality, struggles, love and most of all faith. The prose is incredibly mesmerizing and the family scenarios are too real to be fiction.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2000

    Must Read

    Mr. Duncan is a diamond among us. He needs to be read. As far as my review - Once you begin reading this, you will become a Chance family member. You will not be able to put the book down due to the anxiety you feel over your new family's lives; dilemmas; obstacles; heartaches. All the while you're non-stop laughing. Mr. Duncan has a great sense of humor.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2013

    This has been my favorite book since I first read it 20 years ag

    This has been my favorite book since I first read it 20 years ago. I have picked it up so many times to read my favorite parts (of which there are many) over and over. I am reading it again from cover to cover right now, and I am loving every single word. The Chance family is near and dear to my heart. If you are not a baseball fan, stick with it until page 100-ish, and you'll be hooked. Read slowly!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2012

    Epic

    Epic

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2012

    Long book, but you'll eventually fall in love with this family

    I didn't like this book at all until I got halfway through it, which is quite a commitment given that it is 689 pages long! I wish i could have skipped the first half because I really enjoyed he second half.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2011

    Nothing to add.

    While I enjoyed River Why more, I can only echo the glowing reviews of this novel. Charming, probing, gut-wrenching, funny.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 32 Customer Reviews

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