Book Review: The Night Brother by Rosie Garland*

12:00 pm

* Thank you to the Borough Press for the eARC of The Night Brother for review! *

Time for a quick review!

The Night Brother is a magical tale of identity, sexuality, and choosing your own family, centering around Edie, a young girl on the cusp of womanhood in the early twentieth century. As she grows, she interacts with her mysterious sibling Gnome, a mischevious and somewhat troubled young boy, who increasingly becomes more of a difficult presence in her life. Edie is allowed to live in the daytime with her gruff mother and caring grandmother, whilst Gnome lives for the nighttime, emerging to cause trouble and pretend to be a responsible young man. As Edie grows into a woman, she banishes the influence of Gnome from her life, with unpredictable circumstances. Can you ever get rid of such a crucial part of your life that easily? The Night Brother asks that very question, and more.

To me, this book is pure Angela Carter (whose The Bloody Chamber and The Passion of New Eve you must read if you haven't already) with a smattering of Margaret Atwood, dealing with themes of sexuality and your growing identity. It's very dark in places, and playfully light in others, but in general deals with rather heavy themes. We watch Edie struggle with her growth and come to terms with who she and her family are. For me there were long periods where my interest in the story ebbed hugely, to be picked up again by some revelation, twist in the plot, or introduction of a new character dynamic. This is a book you need to be patient with, as I feel it doesn't really pick up much of a pace until the halfway point, but perhaps the beauty is in its slow burn. 

A special mention for the gorgeous artwork, designed by Romanian illustrator Aitch, who won a competition to design the cover to this magical read. You can find out more about it here.

The Night Brother was published by Borough Press on June 1st, and is available to buy in hardcover for £10.99.

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