cover image Brothers: 26 Stories of Love and Rivalry

Brothers: 26 Stories of Love and Rivalry

. Jossey-Bass, $24.95 (273pp) ISBN 978-0-470-39129-7

This fine collection of essays and short fiction play numerous variations on the bonds between brothers, employing a number of popular writers aging from 24 to 84. Among the most gripping is ""Missing Parts,"" David Kaczynski's account of growing up with the Unabomber, seeking understanding without condemnation or pardon. The nonjudgmental tone runs throughout, from Phillip Lopate's ""My Brother, Life,"" a story of envy, to ""Doing Time"" by John Edgar Wideman, about his brother in prison. Richard Ford extends the scope to include his Sigma Chi fraternity brothers, and David Sedaris injects some much-needed lightness with a charming tribute to his little brother, ""the Rooster,"" who early on developed an amazing capacity for dropping f-bombs. Daniel Menaker and Gregory Orr, whose brothers both met a premature end, explore their survivor's guilt. Jim Shepard writes about writing about his brother. Other contributors include Ethan Canin, Dominick Dunne, Mikal Gilmore, David Maraniss, and Geoffrey and Tobias Wolff. Among a number of similar titles aimed at sisters, this collection is as nostalgic and intimate as any. At least a handful of these tales will connect with anyone who's a brother, or who has one.