cover image The Looking Glass Brother

The Looking Glass Brother

Peter von Ziegesar. St. Martins, $24.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-59298-1

Navigating the life of privilege has been relatively easy for "Big Peter" von Ziegesar but for his stepbrother, "Little Peter", any source of promise falls devastatingly short. Little Peter, now homeless, mentally ill, and gaunt "in half-rotted clothing," was once handsome, blond, and bound for fame as a young violin prodigy. After vagabonding across the West, Little Peter falls asleep in a Montana field and nearly loses both his hands to a harvest combine. In the meantime Big Peter moves from Chicago to Kansas City to New York City, pursuing his writing career, interviewing William S. Burroughs, doing articles on Keith Haring and David Wojnarowicz, and beginning his life with wife Hali. In 1998 Little Peter returns to NYC "distilled, I thought from his thousand and one mad adventures on the road and a few brief stints in jail". Two personalities caught in each other's orbit; Big Peter provides the life raft while Little Peter slowly lets it sink. "I'd started to keep a record of sorts, a noir journal to mark the dark passages of his mind." Brotherly love is evident here, while drugs, lavish estates, suicide, divorce, philandering, and the back drop of NYC round out a touching inside view of comfort and homelessness. (July)