Book Review: My Brother Simple, Marie-Aude Murail

| 31 October , 2012 | Reply

Kleber and Simple need a place to stay.

However their prospects are running thin as Simple has a learning difficulty that places him at a mental age of three-years-old. Their father’s solution is to send Simple to an institution—something Kleber won’t accept. He won’t betray his brother by sending him to a place he fears, so instead Kleber takes Simple to live with him in a student flatshare.

At first, the flatmates perceive Simple’s arrival with varying degrees of misgiving. They’re students who already have a lot on their plate; whether it is dealing with unrequited love, weight gain or a younger competition.

Meanwhile Kleber is struggling to balance sixth form, two girls who are vying for is attention and his ability to remain the kind of brother he wants to be. But as Simple’s antics grow more and more demanding on his life, Kleber starts to wonder if he made the right decision.

My Brother Simple by Marie-Aude Murail provides you with everything you could hope to find in fiction: a smile, a laugh and people who tug at your heart. It offers you the pleasure of being drawn into someone else’s life for a moment of escape and reflection, while also letting you feel their victories, pressures and turmoil.

From the first few pages I knew this would be a good read; by the end, I still believed it. I wasn’t prepared to love this book as much as I did. Nor was I ready to be enveloped so effortlessly into the lives of the characters.

Kleber and Simple’s relationship is at times challenging and frustrating; yet it is always filled with brotherly love. There is clarity in the way Simple sees people and in the way they respond to him; he pulls their real nature to the surface.

My Brother Simple is easy to read, hard to put down. It sweeps through the lives of Kleber and his flatmates as Simple opens their minds and hearts to some truths they never had the courage to face. And in reassessing their lives, they discover that sometimes the adjustments we make can be for the better.

Available now: Allen & Unwin RRP$15.99


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