Every Tuesday The Broke and the Bookish hosts a meme inviting book bloggers to post their top ten on a given topic. I already wrote a post on this week’s theme (books for a desert island) so I’m getting off the beaten track with a top ten about sibling rivalry.
1. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt
Charlie and Eli Sisters are a sibling duo of hired hit men. Charlie kills like it means no more to him than eating a sandwich whereas Eli has mixed feelings about his chosen career. Eli veers between admiration for and disgust with his loose-living brother and their dynamic is fascinating and also very funny.
2. Poppy by Drusilla Modjeska
Modjeska’s thoughtful meditation on motherhood centres on a woman’s nervous breakdown and its impact on her three young daughters. Left feeling abandoned by her illness, each questions if their mother loved another sister more, and these questions haunt them even in their adult lives.
3. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Some of the best scenes in this YA sci-fi classic are those between the prodigiously talented Ender, who is selected for a special space training program, and his sadistic brother Peter, who is not.
4. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
This re-telling of the Cain and Abel story is considered to be one of Steinbeck’s masterworks. Epic.
5. We, the Animals by Justin Torre
Three brothers push and pull against each other amidst the chaos and violence of their parents’ poverty and troubled marriage. This emotionally explosive debut novel has a stunning, original narrative style and a powerful story. Excuse my gushing!
6. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
This is the tragicomic story of The Lamberts and their three adult children who are all completely screwed up. It’s relatable in a way that makes you cringe, and my favourite of Franzen’s novels so far.
7. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
Decades later, Iris Chase pieces together the story of her sister Laura’s suicide. A riveting story of secrets and betrayal and one of Atwood’s best, which is saying something, because they’re all pretty darn good!
8. Raveling by Peter Moore Smith
A psychotherapist is torn between her haunted, schizophrenic patient and his handsome, successful brother as she attempts to unravel the mystery of their younger sister’s disappearance twenty years ago. This is a riveting suspense novel and Pilot’s illness adds an extra layer of complexity to the sibling rivalry element.
9. You Remind Me of Me by Dan Chaon
The story of two half-brothers, each lost and unhappy in different ways, and what happens when they find each other. It’s dark and slightly disturbing like all of Chaon’s work.
10. Cloudstreet by Tim Winton
Two families – the Lambs and the Pickles – share a sprawling house. In one family, the intelligent Rose struggles against her oafish brother Ted, and on the other Quick struggles to get out from the shadow of his beloved brother Fish, who was brain-damaged by a tragic childhood accident. A wonderful Australian story.
Which books about sibling rivalry are your favourites? Leave your top ten in the comments.
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