Five words from the blurb: boy, friends, island, prison, Jewish
The Last Brother caught my attention earlier this year when several of my favourite bloggers started to rave about it. I’m really pleased that I acted on their recommendations as this is a fantastic little book that deserves a wider audience.
This short book is very hard to review without giving spoilers and so if you are sensitive to them I suggest that you avoid reading all reviews and dive straight in. The blurb on the back of the book also explains the entire plot so I recommend that you avoid that too.
The Last Brother is set on the island of Mauritius and tells the story of Raj, a nine year-old boy, who has had a difficult childhood. His abusive father gets a job as a prison warder and this leads Raj to discover that WWII is being fought on the other side of the world and Jewish exiles are being shipped and detained on his island.
I had no idea that Jews were imprisoned on Mauritius during WWII so it was good to be educated about this lesser known piece of history.
The book was beautifully written; the prose simple, but engaging. I quickly connected with Raj and felt enormous sympathy for his situation. In many ways this book reminded me of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, but with a more realistic plot.
I liked the way the book was narrated by a 70 year-old Raj. This allowed an adult perspective to be given, whilst still allowing the childhood innocence to shine through.
My only criticism is that the book was very predictable. I knew exactly what was going to happen from the beginning and I’d have liked a few extra snippets of information to add to the impact of the inevitable ending.
Overall this is a quick, easy read with an emotional undercurrent. Recommended.
The thoughts of other bloggers:
…a powerful novel that packs a huge emotional punch. Devourer of Books
…a haunting novel which has been beautifully translated from the French. Caribousmom
It’s a beautiful treatise on the need for love and the scars inflicted by loss. S. Krishna’s Books