My German Brother
Ciccio already has many problems: romantic failure, an older brother who seems intent on breaking the heart of every beautiful woman in São Paulo, a distant and larger-than-life father. When Ciccio finds, among the many of his father’s books that line the walls of their house, a troubling letter dated ‘December 21, 1931. Berlin’, his existential crisis only intensifies.
It seems that his father once had a child with another woman – a German son whose fate remains unclear. Ciccio sets out on a mission to locate his lost half-brother, and to win the respect of his father. But as Brazil's military government cracks down on dissent, and rumours of arrests and disappearances spread, while Ciccio has been out looking for his German brother, he finds that he has taken his eye off his immediate family . . .
In writing My German Brother, acclaimed Brazilian novelist and musician Chico Buarque was driven by the desire to find out what happened to his own German half-brother – whether he survived the war in a bomb-ravaged Berlin, whether he had joined the ranks of the Hitler Youth. His novel has been a project of a lifetime, one that makes use of what happened, what might have happened, and pure imagination, in order to weave together the threads of narrative and arrive at a truth.
[Chico Buarque] has developed into an intriguing and inventive novelist . . . The language of My German Brother is musical and serpentine, as he unravels a tale that is part historical mystery, part intellectual and sexual coming-of-age.
My German Brother, is a fascinating, shape-shifting piece of autofiction . . . There’s more than a whiff of Sebald to this potent, meandering mixture of text and image, fact and fiction.
[A] poignant exploration of the past that lies tucked away between the pages of musty books, revealing that our parents had lives before we were born.