Wait Softly Brother

ECW. Mar. 2024. 10:02 hrs. ISBN 9781778523205. $24.99. F
Kuitenbrouwer (All the Broken Things) offers an introspective story about the journey rather than the destination. During a deluge of biblical proportions, writer Kathryn leaves her husband of 20 years and returns to her childhood home. She wants to write about her dead brother, Wulf, but her parents are strangely reticent. Kathryn is put to work sorting through generations of family memorabilia—soup tureens, a seal skin, and boxes of photographs—and her mother offers her correspondence about a long-dead relative to distract her from Wulf. Kathryn creates a fiction about this relative, based on the scant information she can find, weaving violence and confusion into her story to reckon with the past and work through her own issues. Narrator Helen K. Taylor expertly voices Kathryn’s frustration and need to know the truth as she doggedly pursues more information about her brother and revisits memory-filled childhood haunts. The parallel storylines about Kathryn’s Civil War–era ancestor and her current life are compellingly conveyed, intermeshing as the story continues.
VERDICT A gracefully drawn story about memory and family truths, recommended for fans of Claire Fuller’s Swimming Lessons.
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