Brothers and Keepers by John Edgar Wideman - review by Ben Okri

Ben Okri

Quest for Freedom

Brothers and Keepers


Allison and Busby 243pp £9.95 order from our bookshop

When John Edgar Wideman won the PEN Faulkner award in America last year, it was more than a sign that he was beginning to get the recognition he long deserved. With six books (fifteen years of writing) behind him, and at the age of forty-two, Wideman now felt that he was being read. About the award, which was for the final part of his Homewood trilogy Sent For You Yesterday, he said: ‘It was the ingredient I needed.’ Among the nominees were writers like Bernard Malamud and William Kennedy.

Wideman’s new book Brothers and Keepers is a work of non-fiction. It is the story of two black brothers forced along different paths by the weight of American society. While John Edgar Wideman pushed himself on to escape from the ghetto, his brother, Robert, was getting caught in it. John

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