9780030617546 / 0030617545

Brothers and Keepers


Publisher:Holt Rinehart & Winston



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About the book:

With novels like Damballah and Hiding Place, John Edgar Wideman began his career in an explicitly modernist vein--indeed, his chronicles of life in the Pittsburgh ghetto of Homewood had more than a trace of a Joycean accent. The autobiographical Brothers and Keepers, however, allowed the writer to find his own voice. Perhaps this dual portrait of the author and his brother Robby--serving, then and now, a life sentence for a murder committed during a bungled robbery--finally forced Wideman to fuse the modernist trappings of his earlier work with the storytelling traditions of African American culture. "My memories needed his," the author recalls. "Maybe the fact that we recall different things is crucial. Maybe they are foreground and background, propping each other up." In any case, the Rashomon-like result is a raw meditation on fate and family, as well as an indictment of our entire notion of crime and (especially) punishment.

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