Brother Alive Book
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RELEASE DATE - 6 JULY 2023
*Winner of the NYPL Young Lions Award
**Winner of the CLMP Firecracker Award
*Finalist for the NBCC John Leonard Prize
In 1990, three boys are born, unrelated but intertwined by circumstance: Dayo, Iseul and Youssef. They are adopted as infants and live in a shared bedroom perched atop a mosque in Staten Island. The boys are a conspicuous trio: Dayo is of Nigerian origin, Iseul is Korean and Youssef indeterminately Middle Eastern, but they are so close as to be almost inseparable.
Nevertheless, Youssef is keeping a secret from his brothers: he has an imaginary double, a familiar who seems absolutely real, a shapeshifting creature he calls Brother. The boys' adoptive father, Imam Salim, is known for his radical sermons extolling the virtues of opting out of Western ideologies. But he is uncharismatic at home, a distant father who spends evenings in his study with whiskey-laced coffee, writing letters to his former compatriots back in Saudi Arabia.
Like Youssef, he too has secrets, including the cause of his failing health, the reason for his nighttime excursions from the house and the truth about what happened to the boys' parents. When Imam Salim's path takes him back to Saudi Arabia, the boys will be forced to follow. There they will be captivated by an opulent, almost futuristic world and find traces of their parents' stories.
But they will have to change if they want to survive in this new world, and the arrival of a creature as powerful as Brother will not go unnoticed. With stylistic brilliance and intellectual acuity, in Brother Alive Zain Khalid brings characters to vivid life with a bold energy that matches the great themes of his novel - family, capital, power, sexuality and the possibility of reunion for those who are broken.
"Beguiling...Khalid's sentences abound with florid, poetic metaphors while maintaining the clipped, declarative tempo of Scripture....a searing collage of the profound and the mundane."
New York Times
"[An] auspicious debut...Khalid brilliantly reveals new shades of truth from each character's point of view, and perfectly integrates the many ideas about capitalism and religious extremism into an enthralling narrative. It's a tour de force."
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"One of the most exciting debuts in recent years...That Khalid executes a novel this intricate, elegant, and compassionate with such masterly prose all but guarantees that this will be one of the finest works of literature this year."
"This wildly ambitious novel seeks to break new ground in big-issue territory like provenance, race, class, birth and rebirth...that it succeeds in some of its lofty aspirations is impressive. To do so while creating memorable characters is even more of a feat."