Brother of the More Famous Jack

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While in Rome she grows up in the ways of the world and relationships and returns to England with a wounded heart but this time none of the Goldman's have anything to do with it. In fact, this time one of the Goldman's helps Katherine heal from the beating her heart has taken and she settles into a life she realizes she was actually meant to live. That's the brief summary of this title that seems to be so well loved and well received. But I'm not sure why. Maybe I'm just not as sophisticated or something but I found the story to be tedious and dull.

It was not interesting in the least, in my opinion. In fact, I kept falling asleep while reading it. It lacked an actual story, it was a rather boring telling of a girl named Katherine and about 14 years of her life. Yes, there were certainly elements in the story that all young women can relate to; broken hearts, uncertainty about direction of life, loss, etc. Trapido's telling of those common experiences, however, was no more special or different than anyone else who has told of those same things in their own coming of age story.

I am a writer so I am trying to figure out what it is about this title that influenced so many to write themselves. It does nothing of the sort for me. In fact, if anything it makes me question the literary taste of many.

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All the glowing reviews and awards it won when first released have me confused. Perhaps this is a case of time marching on and as it does things, including novels and authors, improve. This is Trapido's first book, I wonder if her other books are similar in style and telling or if she improved. The love felt for this book makes me think it is a case of time and maturity. Something about the book spoke to so many back when it first hit the shelves but if they read it again today I have the feeling the majority of them may wonder why they have been claiming it as a favorite all these years. Absolutely loved Katherine and the warm, sardonic Goldman family, who couldn't have appeared more real to me if they were sitting in my lounge room.

Because the dialogue is so quick-witted and rich and paints a perfect image of each of the characters, the narration doesn't feel laborious or unnecessary e. I adored the way Trapido describes the minor character of Katherin's mum as "a creature of fixed habits, who could only wash dishes from left to right" - this says more about a complex chara Absolutely loved Katherine and the warm, sardonic Goldman family, who couldn't have appeared more real to me if they were sitting in my lounge room.

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I adored the way Trapido describes the minor character of Katherin's mum as "a creature of fixed habits, who could only wash dishes from left to right" - this says more about a complex character in one line than some heavily descriptive novels could say in pages! The whole thing feels like one of those filled-with-love-and-swearing arguments you have with your eccentric family at Christmas, only everyone is smarter and better looking.

This book masquerades as a cosy read. It has been described as such by many reviewers, and the 'serving suggestion' on the back cover by Rachel Cooke from the Sunday Times is to consume the story in a bed of fresh linen whilst munching on Marmite on toast. I was very much taken by this description as I am a big fan of both fresh sheets and toast with Marmite. When you first settle down in a clean bed with your plate of toast however, you aren't mindful of the uncomfortable reality that will 4. When you first settle down in a clean bed with your plate of toast however, you aren't mindful of the uncomfortable reality that will soon proceed the promised snugness of such an event.

Soon there are crumbs in your newly washed sheets, Marmite stains on your crisp white pillowcase. For me reading Brother The allusions to aesthetic and nourishing comforts lull you in to a false sense of security, yet the reality of the story is insidiously unsettling. Honestly this is all a euphemism, the book is really fucking sad.

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The story is hard to describe without comparison to other novels. On the cover it is compared to Brideshead Revisited and Mansfield Park. I adored so much about this book; gorgeous details, so much to delve into on the topic of gender, perfect literary references, short chapters with punchy endings. I only knock off half a star because I was weirdly jarred by and sensitive to some of the crude dialogue. The Goldman men love to shock.

Interview: Barbara Trapido | Books | The Guardian

Just when you warm to them or let down your guard for them they do or say something abhorrent. It all hit home a bit too much to be honest. I thought I would be escaping into a cosy world that accompanies bed-and-toast but found myself chocking on the everyday reality of living in a sexist society. Well nobody could call Trapido's characters flat, that's for sure.

You're supposed to either love or hate Marmite, but instead of sitting on either side of the fence with this book, you are likely to both love and hate it. You are trapped by the moments of affection you feel for the book's eccentric yet sadly familiar characters. You feel the necessity of love for these characters as with a familial bond, a tenderness that runs in the blood, yet really they are pretty awful.


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I am aware that this is a very British review of a very British book, but whether you're familiar with the act of spreading yeast extract on your sandwiches or not, I'm sure you'll find at least parts of this coming-of-age story unfortunately relatable. Especially if you're a woman. May 23, Lauren Albert rated it really liked it Shelves: The narrator is an accidental philosophy student, smart but self-effacing, who falls in love with her philosophy professor's whole family, and then their oldest son.

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It is hard not to fall in love with the family--the philosopher father who tells everyone how much he likes having sex with his wife, the mother who is matter-of-fact and sweetly bossy in her mothering she has six children so there is a lot of mothering to do , the children who through benign neglect develop their own v Charming. It is hard not to fall in love with the family--the philosopher father who tells everyone how much he likes having sex with his wife, the mother who is matter-of-fact and sweetly bossy in her mothering she has six children so there is a lot of mothering to do , the children who through benign neglect develop their own very individual personalities It is hard to convey but I can promise you that you'll want to hang out with them after you meet them.

It is disappointing to realize that none of them actually exist and so you can't pull up a chair in their kitchen and plop one of the babies in your lap. One of the finest Domestic realism books I have ever read! Trapido is an author I had never heard of until the ABC Book club featured her as their classic last month and I am glad to have found her exquisite poetic prose.

The story itself revolves around an unconventional family, their children and their friendship with Katherine, the patriarchs philosophy student, and later lover of two sons. It's a very simple story and not a lot happens in their lives, in fact their lives are quite ordinary, One of the finest Domestic realism books I have ever read! It's a very simple story and not a lot happens in their lives, in fact their lives are quite ordinary, its actually the fine writing that makes this book a masterpiece. At times its very dense and sometimes its purely simplistic, but always rewarding.

When Bloomsbury offered Brother of the More Famous Jack for early review of the reprint of this classic British novel, I was intrigued by the odd title and the lovely cover. When I read the blurb by Elizabeth Gilbert, whom I like very much, and that Trapido is a a well known and celebrated author in Britain, and this is novel is a witty observation on manners, relationships, and a female bildungsroman, my brain became all inflated with anticipation. But then I started this story about a narcissist When Bloomsbury offered Brother of the More Famous Jack for early review of the reprint of this classic British novel, I was intrigued by the odd title and the lovely cover.

But then I started this story about a narcissistic, flighty, and impressionable young woman and it all sort of deflated. As others have said, yes, there are elements of heartbreak here to which the reader is supposed to relate, but I find it difficult to relate to a character who has eyes for an older man whom she discovers in very short order is gay and so is thus heartbroken she's known him for such a very short amount of time, and everyone around her immediately told her he was gay, that to claim herself in love him him was ludicrous , and so instantly, instantly turns around falls in love with the next handsome boy in line of sight, with absolutely no reason for doing so.

Difficult to feel sorry for or relate to a heartbroken character who couldn't possibly be feeling any semblance of actual love or even strong affection. I wonder, and even strongly suspect, that I could be making a mistake here. The novel is highly rated on Goodreads, and I did laugh at much of what I read. The writing is witty and smart: I assume this to be a minor deformity which he bears with fortitude. The truth is, I do actually believe I might try this book or another of Trapido's funny looking novels in the future.

But today, this week, this season, it all felt a bit flat and dated and weary to me, and I just didn't feel any desire to keep going with it right now. But just a heads up that I may very well eat my own words at some later date It didn't turn out to be one of mine. It was fine, but I found it difficult to get into - I think, in part, due to the style. There's A LOT of dialogue. It's weird that such a thing would interfere with my interest, because I LOVE a lot of dialogue-heavy things like "Gilmore Girls," for instance - but I can think of no other explanation.

I also never fell completely in love with any of the characters. Jacob, Jane, and Jont all achieved a certain degree of lovable imperfection, but Roger certainly never did; nor did Michele or the protagonist. Kath wasn't an awful person. Her insecurities did feel familiar, but I couldn't excuse how much of a doormat she allowed herself to be. Time and time again she chose men that were awful for her - men who seemed like they'd be awful for anyone!

There were some wonderful comedic moments and some great one-liners, but not enough to charm me. Also, what was with the title? Is it supposed to be a joke? A pretentious joke for the intellectually-elite? Is Roger supposed to be "the more famous" brother and Jont his lesser-known kin? WB, in reality, is more important and so is Jont? I'm really not sure View all 3 comments. Sep 16, Kandace rated it liked it. Katherine, the only child of a prim, inhibited mother and a deceased father, enters into university under Jacob Goldman, an independent, eccentric professor whose family comes to adore Katherine.

After a heartbreaking end to her first love, Katherine begins a journey of discovery that takes her across the continent and through many beds. After an incredibly tragic loss, Katherine is back in England and with the Goldmans once more. The characters are what really drive this story. Each of them a smart, funny and exceedingly charming despite their quirks and flaws. By chapter six, I want this family to adopt me. Jane is earthy and genuine, Jacob is bawdy, but thoughtful and each of the child have an identity outside of child 1, child 2, child 3, etc. It is an excellent coming of age story that highlights the highest of highs first love and the lowest of lows death.

Anyone who has gone on a journey of self-discovery, even if they never left their hometown, can identify and commiserate with Katherine. See more reviews by The Readist at www. Feb 19, Corene rated it really liked it Shelves: A somewhat strange and delightful novel. It reads like a quirky period piece, but was actually first published in , with the story beginning in the s, and continuing to the then present day.

It's filled with baffling slang and colloquialisms and profanity, but that is part of it's charm. A young university student visits her professor's Sussex home, to find a vibrant, intellectual and cuttingly articulate family. It's not really a spoiler to say she starts out involved with one of the A somewhat strange and delightful novel. It's not really a spoiler to say she starts out involved with one of the sons, and years later winds up with his younger brother.

Along the way she leaves her young naive self behind, suffers tragedy and tells her story in a sometimes offhand way, in a style which reminded me of the contemporary author Nina Stibbe. I read the republished edition with a forward by Maria Semple, who is a champion of the book after finding an out of print edition years ago. Highly recommended to readers who enjoy unconventional British novels with memorable characters and humorous dialogue.

Bookclubs with a taste for this should enjoy discussing it. Feb 07, Ekaterina M. Hay mucho trasfondo en la historia, que no es nada superficial, muy entretenida y con unos momentos preciosos. Nov 10, eb rated it liked it. Mostly insufferable and childish, with some real emotion and truthtelling about sex and motherhood thrown in. Each sentence has been massaged and plucked and oiled to within an inch of its life, which is totally exhausting. Just as problematically, the characters read like the ones you dream up as a year-old child, when you think the goal of fiction is to immerse yourself, the writer, in the world you'd like to live in, one peopled exclusively with brilliant, rude, loving people who talk the Mostly insufferable and childish, with some real emotion and truthtelling about sex and motherhood thrown in.

Just as problematically, the characters read like the ones you dream up as a year-old child, when you think the goal of fiction is to immerse yourself, the writer, in the world you'd like to live in, one peopled exclusively with brilliant, rude, loving people who talk the way you do in your diary. I wish I had read this book last month so that it would mean something if I said it was my favorite book of the year.

I came across it in my local indie much the way Maria Semple describes in her introduction, and fell in love with the title and the cover as much as with the first page. This book creeps up on you slowly. The characters are all eccentric and flawed in their own way but also feel so welcoming. It's their perceived flaws that make you fall in love with them and all their nuances. I didn't want to rush reading this as I enjoyed being in their world so very much.

A book that bears the very unusual distinction of being very good literature and a damned good read. Characters that make you fall in love with them and fast paced vivid dialogue. The characters, particularly those who belong to the large Goldman family, are, on the whole, unlikeable assholes, but there is the smallest spark of charm underneath that kept me from writing them off completely.

Jonathan, at least, sees some redemption toward the end; he and Katherine are very sweet together. If you like smart, witty, somewhat unbearable characters and family dynamics, pick this one up. But odd years later, re-reading it, it struck me much more as a novel about gender relations. The thing that I didn't notice the first time round was how horrible all the men are. And one of the things Jake, I love Jacob, Jacob's sort of charismatic. He's a Jewish academic, his father fled the Nazis, he's sort of sweary, he's obsessed with sex.

He's a brilliant teacher. He's got a very thick pelt all over him. He's very hirsute, isn't he? And he's incredibly vivid and I remember loving him the first time. But, actually, this time he struck me as much more of a bully and this very, very intense relationship we have with his wife, it's actually very clear that it actually takes quite a toll on her, on Jane. Do you think that, re-reading it? He's so familiar to me, in a way, because I grew up with the kind of men who take all the oxygen out of the room when they walk in. And there is something that is both sort of demonic and fantastic about those guys.

They're larger than life, they're charismatic, they make When they put their attention on you, you ignite from just the power of their gaze, and so Jacob felt like that kind of a person to me. Jane is not a victim of him, though. And she's got such power in her own right. In the end I noticed the subtlety of She forces him into the life she They sort of fight over who gets to have what kind of a lifestyle.

And then she delivers the most powerful feminist rant at the end in such a careful and precise way saying to Katherine, very seriously, 'Don't you marry until you have a written contract about how much housework he's going to do. It's not enough for him to say that he'll change the occasional nappy. You know, I want it written down.

This is not a joke. And she's incensed, though, by that, isn't she? Katherine doesn't like that at all and Too young to know she should be listening very carefully to that. Yeah, but, you know, the way they set up their relationship, though, you get the impression that they've seen how It's as if they've learnt from that generation.

I didn't see Jake as As a writer, or writers, is there a simple way to describe how she does it?

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How it has this sort of comic tragedy and people you like and you at the same time you think, 'What terrible people! No, I think it's mainly that she's really, really good. In a funny way, her particular way of being really, really good is also why she's not better known because Though, I should say, she is better known in England. The books haven't travelled. But I think if you want a formula for a neglected really, really good book, one of the things that would feature is mix of tones. You know, the books that often do freakishly well, often do one thing very well, and she does a lot of things very well.

The sadness is often quite funny and the funny things are often quite sad. The emotional register sort of changes in ways that is actually very like the texture of real life. What I like about this book is how much Katherine likes sex. And I think, for her, having grown up in a very repressed Church of England family in a sort of post-war brick house where, as she said, the most exotic food they had was tinned Caribbean pineapple. Suddenly to come into this place where this man is There's something, to me, that's very refreshing and wonderful about a man lusting after his wife, first of all, his wife of many years.

I think that's hot and wonderful. I think the two rapacious things about this character is her intellectual curiosity - how much she loves books and literature and philosophy - and how much she wants to be ravaged. And so when she's looking at Jake, like, just so horny for his wife, she's thinking kind of how nice that would be to be the centre of somebody's adoration like that ongoingly and that's, in the end, is what she ends up getting.

But she's so in love with the characters. Yeah, she's so kind to them all.

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That's what comes through. Maybe because she did spend so much time with them in her head. She's madly in love with them, so it's hard for you not be as well. I'm in love with them. I wanted so much to either be or marry a Goldman. Which one did you? That's who I wanted to marry. I wanted to marry Jonty, yes. And that is our show for tonight. Would you please thank our wonderful panel? John, Marieke, Jason and Liz. An intelligent romance novel with expert characterisation - provided me with the perfect escape in the short moments available while caring for my 10 week old!

Recommended reading for women, not really one for the boys! Apparently, it is also hysterically funny, and according to my favourite quoted review from the front of the book, The Daily Telegraph says it is "very funny, very English, and very sad. There is nothing more English than this novel.


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