My German brother

by Buarque, Chico, 1944-

Format: Print Book 2018
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library First Floor - Fiction Stacks FICTION Buarque
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  First Floor - Fiction Stacks
Call Number  FICTION Buarque

An uproarious novel about a man's often sordid, lifelong search for his possibly imaginary half brother

My German Brother is the renowned Brazilian musician and author Chico Buarque's attempt to reconstruct through fiction his obsessive lifelong search for a lost sibling.

In 1960s São Paulo, the teenage car thief and budding lothario Ciccio comes home each day to a house stuffed with books. His father, a journalist and scholar, has spent his life acquiring them; his mother, by necessity, has spent her life organizing this library. Ciccio feels like an afterthought in his own family, largely left to his own criminal devices. Forbidden to touch any of these books, Ciccio sneaks off with The Golden Bough one day to discover a decades-old letter hidden inside. The letter reveals an illicit affair his father carried on while posted in Nazi-era Berlin, an affair that resulted in the birth of a baby boy. The child, along with his mother, vanished into the chaos of the Second World War. Ciccio develops a fascination for his mysterious German brother: a fixation that becomes a mission, both comical and courageous, pursued over decades, through dead ends and embarrassments and cases of mistaken identity.

My German Brother is the project of a lifetime, combining what was, what might have been, and outright fabrication, all in order to arrive at the truth.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Author and singer-songwriter Buarque riffs playfully on familiar themes history, exile, Brazilian street kids but he also hits some wistful new notes, inspired by a real-life family mystery. When we meet Ciccio, our charming but perhaps less-than-reliable narrator, he is a teenager in São Paulo, stealing cars and trying to bed girls his older brother has seduced and discarded. But then some old letters hidden in his aloof father's library suggest that Ciccio may have another sibling, a half brother left behind in Germany and perhaps lost to the war. Clues emerge, inviting imaginative conclusions and unverifiable hunches. He finds an intriguing photo and carries it everywhere. Ciccio becomes a licentious, LSD-taking professor, while Brazilian society becomes increasingly dissonant. Will the lost sibling ever be found? Or was it all just a flight of fancy, fueled by survivor's guilt? Blurring imagination and reality, Buarque keeps readers disoriented. Less ambiguous are his influences, W. G. Sebald and Jorge Luis Borges. High-modernist diversions do not obscure the feelings of brotherly pride and loss that reverberate throughout this messy and compelling work.--Driscoll, Brendan Copyright 2018 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Brazilian writer-musician Buarque's wistful, bawdy account of the search for his German half-brother is based on the author's life, according to an author's note. In early-1960s Sao Paulo, teenager Ciccio de Hollander discovers hidden in an old book a 1931 letter revealing that his father left an illegitimate child behind in prewar Berlin. Enthralled, he imagines his half-brother while trying to track him down and seducing the ex-girlfriends of his full brother, Domingos. During Brazil's 1968 government crackdown, police confiscate all documents relevant to the half-brother. Ciccio also loses contact with both Domingos and his best friend Thelonious; distraught families suspect the young men have died in police custody. In 2013, Ciccio travels to Germany for one last try at locating his half-brother. The narrative's liveliest moments have nothing to do with the search: teenagers Ciccio and Thelonious stealing a car; adult Ciccio imagining great authors attending his father's funeral; an unliterary policeman named Jorge Borges rifling through Ciccio's father's library. Buarque's novel about freedom and repression in Germany and Brazil is both funny and disturbing. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Holanda, Sérgio Buarque de, -- 1902-1982 -- Fiction.
Fathers and sons -- Fiction.
Illegitimate children -- Fiction.
Berlin (Germany) -- Fiction.
Biographical fiction.
Publisher New York :2018
Edition First American edition.
Other Titles Irmão alemão.
Contributors Entrekin, Alison, translator.
Language English
Notes "Originally published in Portuguese in 2014 by Companhia das Letras, Brazil, as O Irmão Alemão. English translation originally published in 2018 by Picador, an imprint of Pan Macmillan, Great Britain."
Description 199 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
ISBN 9780374161200
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