Donald Antrim The Hundred Brothers

ISBN 13: 9780679769422

The Hundred Brothers

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9780679769422: The Hundred Brothers
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There's Rob, Bob, Tom, Paul, Ralph, and Phil; Siegfried, the sculptor in burning steel; blind Albert and ninety-three-year-old Hiram; Foster, the New Age psychoanalyst; and Maxwell, the tropical botanist, who, since returning from the rain forest, has seemed a little screwed up somehow.  When PEN/Faulkner Award finalist Donald Antrim brings them and their eighty-nine equally eccentic kinsmen together in the decaying library of their family estate for cocktails, a light supper, and a little ritual sacrifice, the result suggests a high-speed collision between The Brothers Karamazov and the Brothers Marx.  Moving swiftly from slapstick to horror and back, The Hundred Brothers establishes Antrim as one of our most mordantly and satanically playful young writers, whose insights into the agonies of kinship are as serious as they are hilarious.

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Review:

There are, as the title says, one hundred brothers in Donald Antrim's novel. This sprawling fraternity has gathered in the family library for a dinner and over the course of a few hours, the author serves up sibling rivalry, revelry, and mayhem in meticulous, unflappable style.

For the most part, The Hundred Brothers skates along on the strength of its comic ingenuity. Yet Antrim has some serious points to make about masculine pride, vanity, and terror--not by invoking them directly, but by inflating them to monstrous (and mirthful) proportions. And the narrator's comments about his rampaging kin often have a larger, melancholic resonance to them. Indeed, when he points out "the complexities of our interdependence and the sorry indignities that pass as currency between us in lieu of gentler tender," he might be talking about any family--even one in the single-digit range.

From the Back Cover:

"Line for line, Donald Antrim may be the best young male writer in America; his books . . . pack a vicious satiric punch." --Details

"The author's surreal vision is both imaginative and wholly his own. . . . A striking literary discovery." --Boston Globe

"Gloriously unhinged. . . . A slapstick tour through the realms . . . previously explored by Jung and Joseph Campbell." --San Francisco Chronicle

"A fiercely intelligent writer. . . . [This is] a bravura nightmare." --The New York Times Book Review

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