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The Last Brother

by Nathacha Appanah

This book is about an intense, but too brief friendship between two small boys - one Mauritian, the other a European Jew - who don't even share a common language. 60 years on, a failing Raj looks back over the events of that troubled time, and you will find yourself raging against the iniquities piled upon both boys, while admiring their courage. A harsh story, but the beauty of the writing raises it to an altogether higher plane.

Extract

Even today, although it makes me laugh a little, I can recall the sudden fear, like an electric shock, that made me utter a cry and leap up. Crouched and hunched up as I had been, I was incapable of breaking into a run, even though everything within me was straining to get away. No, for the first time in my life I got my feet in a tangle, and I, the king of the lightning-swift departure, fell over backwards. And, as I lay there on the ground, my heart thumping fit to burst, what I saw behind me was a boy with fair hair. That wretched David in fits of laughter.
Translated by Geoffrey Strachan

Parallels

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne
Mr Pip by Lloyd Jones
The Adventures of Tom Sawyers by Mark Twain
 

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