Older Brother: Book summary and reviews of Older Brother by Mahir Guven

Older Brother

by Mahir Guven

Older Brother by Mahir Guven X
Older Brother by Mahir Guven
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Book Summary

Older Brother is the poignant story of a Franco-Syrian family whose father and two sons try to integrate themselves into a society that doesn't offer them many opportunities.

The father, an atheist communist who moved from Syria to France for his studies and stayed for love, has worked for decades driving a taxi to support his family. The eldest son is a driver for an app-based car service, which comically puts him at odds with his father, whose very livelihood is threatened by this new generation of disruptors. The younger son, shy and serious, works as a nurse in a French hospital. Jaded by the regular rejections he encounters in French society, he decides to join a Muslim humanitarian organization to help wounded civilians in the war in Syria. But when he stops sending news home, the silence begins to eat away at his father and brother who wonder what his real motivations were. When younger brother returns home, he has changed. Guven alternates between an ironic take on contemporary society and the gravity of terrorist threats. He explores with equal poignancy the lives of "Uberized" workers and actors in the global jihad.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"The novel's real accomplishment is in depicting the stresses of everyday life for Muslim immigrants in France. This is a winning debut." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A striking debut that reveals the breadth of emotional disconnection that prejudice can stoke within a family." - Kirkus Reviews

"In this powerful first novel, written in evocative language, Mahir Guven tells a story from within the very heart of our society, beset by the demons of Uberization and terrorism." - Le courier de l'Atlas (France)

"With the ambivalent sentiments of this pair of brothers alienated by two systems at its core, this first novel is gripping, illuminating, but also funny. It is a call to renew the dream for all those who set foot on French soil." - L'Obs (France)

This information about Older Brother was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Mahir Guven

Mahir Guven was born in 1986 in Nantes, the stateless child of refugees, his mother from Turkey and his Kurdish father from Iraq. He grew up with his grandmother between the city and vineyards. Older Brother, his first novel, was awarded the Goncourt First Novel Prize in 2018.

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