cover image Brothers: A Novel

Brothers: A Novel

Da Chen, . . Crown/Shaye Arehart, $25 (421pp) ISBN 978-1-4000-9728-9

Acclaimed memoirist Chen (Colors of the Mountain ) draws on his experiences growing up during the Cultural Revolution for this arresting novel about two brothers negotiating the momentous changes that have buffeted China in recent decades. The protagonists are half-brothers: Tan, the privileged, legitimate heir of Gen. Ding Long, and Shento, the general's abandoned bastard child. While Tan is "groomed to be a leader," Shento is placed in a hellish orphanage where he plots revenge. Shento eventually escapes, joins the army and rises to the head of the president's security detail. Meanwhile, caught on the wrong side of the changes sweeping China following Chairman Mao's death, Tan's family is discredited and flees to their ancestral home in the south where Tan builds an economic empire. Tan also falls in love with the beautiful orphan, Sumi Wo, who has an illegitimate son by Shento. When Sumi and Tan become involved in the pro-democracy movement, they attract official attention, putting the estranged brothers on paths that will converge at Tiananmen Square. Chen's inventive and sprawling family saga eloquently recreates a time of enormous upheaval. (Sept.)