The Brothers K

The Brothers K

by David James Duncan


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Once in a great while a writer comes along who can truly capture the drama and passion of the life of a family. David James Duncan, author of the novel The River Why and the collection River Teeth, is just such a writer. And in The Brothers K he tells a story both striking and in its originality and poignant in its universality.
This touching, uplifting novel spans decades of loyalty, anger, regret, and love in the lives of the Chance family. A father whose dreams of glory on a baseball field are shattered by a mill accident. A mother who clings obsessively to religion as a ward against the darkest hour of her past. Four brothers who come of age during the seismic upheavals of the sixties and who each choose their own way to deal with what the world has become. By turns uproariously funny and deeply moving, and beautifully written throughout, The Brothers K is one of the finest chronicles of our lives in many years.
Praise for The Brothers K

“The pages of The Brothers K sparkle.”The New York Times Book Review

“Duncan is a wonderfully engaging writer.”Los Angeles Times

“This ambitious book succeeds on almost every level and every page.”USA Today

“Duncan’s prose is a blend of lyrical rhapsody, sassy hyperbole and all-American vernacular.”San Francisco Chronicle

The Brothers K affords the . . . deep pleasures of novels that exhaustively create, and alter, complex worlds. . . . One always senses an enthusiastic and abundantly talented and versatile writer at work.”The Washington Post Book World

“Duncan . . . tells the larger story of an entire popular culture struggling to redefine itself—something he does with the comic excitement and depth of feeling one expects from Tom Robbins.”Chicago Tribune

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553378498
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/28/1996
Pages: 656
Sales rank: 98,020
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

David James Duncan is the author of The River Why, which won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award in 1983, and River Teeth, a collection of stories and writings. He lives with his wife, the sculptor Adrian Arleo, and family, in Western Montana where he is at work on his next novel.

Read an Excerpt


Excerpted from "The Brothers K"
by .
Copyright © 1996 David James Duncan.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Brothers K 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A reader recommended I get this book, saying it was in the same vein as the accounts of the late Sixties and 1970 in my books (listed below). I found the stories of the four Chance brothers breath-taking in their variety, edifying in their authenticity. As the years pass,I have been increasingly concerned over the absence of good literature giving candid accounts of those unique times when our country nearly destroyed itself. Mr. Duncan's book is very satisfying, entertaining and, in spots, necessarily disturbing, as it tells its story of those four young men and their family. This book is a must for all seeking to truly understand those unique moments in our history, and told thru the eyes of some of the little people who made it happen. As any of us who 'were there' could attest, it vividly brings it all back, setting a standard for all of us trying to recapture those times for the reading public to aim for. Well done, Mr. Duncan!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a new-author award winner and deservedly so. Duncan masterfully weaves family, baseball and the complexities of the 60s in a superb literary style. There's a bit too much detail at times, but he continually brings back characters and sub-plots in fascinating ways and keeps your attention throughout a long read. But it's worth it, to the last page, when you don't want the story to end. This is a brilliant piece of fiction.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked up The Brothers K as an outside reading book for my highschool assignment, expecting a mediocre read and not much interest on my part. The book started out well, entertaining and funny. As my reading progressed I was hooked on Duncan's flowing rhetoric and the dry wit expressed through those great characters. The Brothers K is a story of life and the progression of life through the eyes of the generic American family, though in their common guises readers can still find a fascination with these characters. Many times the greatest stories are about things so common to us - things we relate to. The words of The Brothers K lie adrift in my mind, often recalled upon for their life lessons. David James Duncan is a true teacher and a storyteller, turning his simple words into an epic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is my new all time best number one book. I was amazed by this book. It is so good. I can't say enough good things about it. I will recomend this book to everyone I know.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a great story teller! Duncan masterfully develops each character and manages to tap each and every one of your emotions. I fell in love with each character and didn't want the book to end.
Med_Student More than 1 year ago
Baseball has never made more sense... I will never attend church, watch a baseball game, or hang out with my family the same way again. Brilliant.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow! I had to read this book for college, and I was just dreading reading all 700+ pages of this book, but once I started, the pages just turned themselves, and I was taken aback by the incredible writing style-I have to thank my University for recommending the novel!!!I would say this is an all-time favorite!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Brothers K is definitely on my best ever list. I couldn't put it down, but I couldn't hurry through it either. One of the all time best baseball books, but also a ton more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Is this the best book every? Maybe not, but it's high on my list. Read 'The River Why' and this book. Hurry.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story draws you in and creates a scene rich with reality, struggles, love and most of all faith. The prose is incredibly mesmerizing and the family scenarios are too real to be fiction.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mr. Duncan is a diamond among us. He needs to be read. As far as my review - Once you begin reading this, you will become a Chance family member. You will not be able to put the book down due to the anxiety you feel over your new family's lives; dilemmas; obstacles; heartaches. All the while you're non-stop laughing. Mr. Duncan has a great sense of humor.
Gwendydd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A truly delightful read. I literally laughed out loud and cried throughout the book. It's a very interesting examination of what is important to people (baseball, religion, family), and how that can divide or unite a family.
FloraAshley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Stunning. I loved every word.
jmccamant on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was the most engaging novel I've read in years. It was laugh-out-loud funny, it moved me to tears, and it moved me to write a little review on this website, something few books can claim. The New York Times Book Review said, "The pages of The Brothers K sparkle," and I think that's a wonderful description. If you have even the tiniest appreciation of baseball as a metaphor for life you will enjoy this book.
dreamreader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Throughout the three weeks I spent with David James Duncan's Chase family, I found myself emailing quotes from The Brothers K and recommending this book to friends and business colleagues alike. Though written in 1992, it feels so like today in its approach to religious fanaticism, war, and politics. It's time for this book to enjoy a much deserved revival. By turns hilarious and heart-wrenching, often philosphical and meandering to distraction, one finds at conclusion that it was all there for a reason. The paths that wind through baseball, religion, politics, and family relationships all converge into a most satisying whole. Truly one of the most thoroughly enjoyable reads of my life.
Patrick311 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What a book. Here's another book with problems, sometimes big problems, involving voice and narrative perspective. And you know what? I didn't care a lick. It's a terrific read, just bravado storytelling. The term page-turner gets thrown around a lot, but this is the real thing, the genuine article. This is the saga of the Chance family (see, Duncan lays it on pretty thick everywhere in this book, including the characters' last names), told in detail, from the narrator's earliest childhood memories of sitting on his father's lap while his father reads the sports section, into adulthood. The brothers in question here are Everett, Peter, Irwin, and Kincaid, and by the end of the book, I got to feeling like they were my brothers. There are moments when the book gets a little corny. If there was even a hint of irony in it, I missed it. In fact, I'm tempted to say it's a melodrama. But the truth is that I haven't had this much fun reading a book in a long time, and that includes Tom Drury's The End of Vandalism, which I loved. I can't say that this big mess of a novel is for everyone. I know some people won't be able to get past the occasional technical issues and the sometimes cheesy tone, but those who can will find an amazing story waiting for them. And I haven't read Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov, after which, I'm assuming, this book is fashioned (there are direct references to the Dostoevsky that I'm afraid went sailing right past me. I don't even know what the plot of that book is). So I'm thinking I may have to hunker down with that at some point this summer. But for now, I'm going to read some smaller books.Thanks to Robert for giving me this terrific novel. I owe you another one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful ride .... enjoyed every minute of it.
heaward on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! The thing is, I might never have stuck to it and read it if it hadn't been chosen for a book group.It's the story of a family with six children¿four brothers and two younger sisters¿and their minor league pitcher/millworker father and strongly Adventist mother. Kincaid, the youngest brother narrates through the decades, but the text also includes a school essay, letters, poems, and sections from other siblings' perspectives. They grow up in Camas, WA, near my old stomping grounds, so I especially liked the geographical and other NW references. You get to know and care about the characters, so it's hard to take what life throws at them¿I cried several times¿but it's hopeful in the end.
asphaltjunkie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is among the top five books on my favourites list. It is a genius study of family and post-war America over the course of about thirty years that has at its core baseball, religion, baseball as a religion, literature, war and peace. A friend gave me my copy of this book and said, "if ever a book was written specifically for you, this is it." She couldn't have been more right. It has by far the funniest passage about Sunday school I've ever read. I can't begin to explain, but it involves felt angels, Swedes and beatniks. Overall, Duncan's understanding of and ability to write both about the humourous and heartbreaking aspects of life and familial relations makes this book well worth reading. "Joy to the Wordl! The Saviour Resigns!"
john_sunseri on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is probably my favorite book of all time; I've read it a dozen times, and each time I laugh and cry and shake my head in amazement at how wonderful the language flows, how real the characters are, how the thing moves at the pace of life.The story of Hugh Chance and his family is a rich stew, flavored with humor and pain and love, with a few dashes of baseball and war and religion and science. 'The Brothers K' shows what it is to be human; it spans the spectrum of our existence through the brothers Everett, Peter and Irwin and the different ways they endure the sixties, Vietnam, their roiling, painful, wonderful family, their women, their philosophies, their lives. Writing this makes me want to pick it up again and savor it like a fine pinor noir...
Griff on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Brothers K is a great read. Family, baseball, religion, politics, and the Viet Nam War make an amazing combination of issues that tear apart and bring back together the Chance family. Highly recommended.
karinehart on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wonderful! A driving story of family relationships, life dreams, love and friendship. One of my favorite books of all time - You'll love it, but don't forget the kleenex!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Every thought the author eber had he put in this book.the story could have been told in 200 pages or less. Not 713 that's for sure. What a waste of time. After awhile you won't even care hpw it ends...just that it does.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago