I'm really enjoying The Third Brother by Nick McDonell [Grove, Sept.]. It's the second novel by the author of Twelve, which he wrote when he was 17. He's now 21 years old. It's very fast-paced and takes place partly in Bangkok, where the young narrator has a newspaper internship with a friend of his father's, and goes looking for another kid who's gone AWOL. He encounters the seedy underbelly of Thailand and the descriptions are fascinating—the narrator's voice and observations keep it moving. He's a bit lost and hedonistic, but eventually learns to accept responsibility. I might compare it to Alex Garland's The Beach, since it's about a young wanderer encountering young people in another culture, who feels estranged but wants to know more. I think it will appeal to a young, literary market. Though that's a better market for paperback originals, I still think this book will do well in hardcover.
Volume 252 Issue 25 06/20/2005