By Da Chen
(Broadway Books, Paperback, 9781400097296, 448pp.)
Publication Date: June 12, 2007
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At the height of China’s Cultural Revolution a powerful general fathered two sons. Tan was born to the general’s wife and into a life of comfort and luxury. His half brother, Shento, was born to the general’s mistress, who threw herself off a cliff in the mountains of Balan only moments after delivering her child. Growing up, each remained ignorant of the other’s existence. In Beijing, Tan enjoyed the best schools, the finest clothes, and the prettiest girls. Shento was raised on the mountainside by an old healer and his wife until their deaths landed him in an orphanage, where he was always hungry, alone, and frightened. Though on divergent roads, each brother is driven by a passionate desire—one to glorify his father, the other to seek revenge against him.
Separated by distance and opportunity, Tan and Shento follow the paths that lie before them, while unknowingly falling in love with the same woman and moving toward the explosive moment when their fates finally merge.
Brothers, by bestselling memoirist Da Chen, is a sprawling, dynamic family saga, complete with assassinations, love affairs, narrowly missed opportunities, and the ineluctable fulfillment of destiny.
Da Chen lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with his wife and children.
“From Shaolin to the sugarloaf mountains of Gwangdong to Tiananmen Square and the skyscrapers of New York: an epic novel that neatly distills modern Chinese history. Da Chen’s elegantly written novel ends on the promise of redemption. . . .” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Within this sweeping, ambitious, historical novel, there is a beautifully wrought story of young men coming of age, related to each other but strangers, and heading toward a breathtaking collision.” —Ron Nyswaner,author of Blue Days, Black Nights: A Memoir
"This book is fantastic in every sense of the word—a saga of China that is at once exotic and universal, an epic tale of destiny entwined with history. The description of Shento’s birth is one of the most original beginnings of a novel I have ever read, and it launches the novel with the generous imagination that is evident throughout. . . . Chinese family life, military tradition, and the steaming violence on the Vietnamese border are all depicted with the wide strokes of a great artist creating a timeless tale.” —Laura Shaine Cunningham, author of Sleeping Arrangements and Beautiful Bodies
“Brothers begins as if in a dream. And like a dream you are captured by its first eerie lines: ‘To tell the tale of my birth, I must start not from the beginning, but from the end to my beginning. I was born twice, really.’ This is Shento speaking. His brother Tan speaks next. And an epic novel evolves out of their alternating accounts, with all the rich and exquisite detail you expect from such an artful writer as Da Chen. He deals in big emotions: revenge, love (both graphic and romantic), torture, and fealty. He gives us China, from the ordinary soul to the ruling elite. He takes you from Mao to Tiananmen Square and then beyond. If you’re in the mood for a good atmospheric read, you won’t find a better one.” —John Bowers, professor of creative writing, Columbia University, and author of The Colony, In the Land of Nyx, and Stonewall Jackson: Portrait of a Soldier