Brewster | Granta

Brewster

Mark Slouka

As an infant, Jon Mosher tragically lost his older brother to a freak accident – something that could have happened to any family. There’s nothing he could have done to prevent it, but there it is anyway, that loss echoing in every room and painted on the faces of his parents – German Jews who’d escaped the war – as if to say: you weren’t, and aren’t, enough. Saddled with this absence, Jon’s life has been defined by what’s missing and what he lacks; that is, until in high school he befriends wisecracking Ray, a reckless boy with a volatile father. Against the backdrop of the Summer of Love and the encroaching Vietnam War, Jon dreams of ultimately leaving his grey, blue-collar town, but is set on an irrevocable course as the escalating violence of Ray’s home life threatens to shatter their bright-eyed plans to escape. Torn between obligation and desire, Jon’s faced with the impossible decision of whether to help, or run.

In this magnificent, haunting novel, Slouka brilliantly captures the polarising forces of a working class, hardscrabble ethos and the hopeful vibrancy of the sixties and early seventies. With concise, wise prose, Slouka weaves together a tapestry of family, fate, friendship, and the impossibility of ever, really, leaving home.

  • Published: 06/03/2014
  • Paperback
  • ISBN: 9781846275005
  • 129x20mm, 288 pages

The dark undertow of Slouka's prose makes Brewster instantly mesmerizing, a novel that whirls the reader into small-town, late 1960s America with mastery, originality and heart

Jennifer Egan, author, A Visit from the Goon Squad

Reading Brewster is like entering the very heart of a Bruce Springsteen song - all grace, all depth, all sinew. Slouka - one of the great unsung writers of our time - has written a magnificent novel that woke my tired heart

Colum McCann, author, Let the Great World Spin

Slouka's talent is the ability to suggest the dark undertow of suburbia through immaculately chosen images and simple clarity of phrase... A gripping, gritty narrative

Alfred Hickling, Guardian

The Author

Mark Slouka’s short fiction has featured in Best American Short Stories and has been awarded a National Magazine Award for Fiction. He is a Contributing Editor at Harper’s, and the author of The Woodcarver’s Tale and God’s Fool (Knopf and Picador). He is Professor of English Literature at the University of Chicago.

More about the author →

From the Same Author

The Visible World

‘My mother knew a man during the war. Theirs was a love story, and like any good love story, it left blood on the floor and wreckage in its wake.’ As a boy growing up in New York, the narrator’s parents’ memories of their Czech homeland seem to belong to another world, as distant and unreal as the fairy tales his father tells him. It is only as an adult, when he makes his own journey to Prague, that he is finally able to piece together the truth of his parents’ past: what they did, whom his mother loved, and why they were never able to forget.

Mark Slouka on Granta.com

Essays & Memoir | The Online Edition

Labyrinth of the Heart

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‘Every marriage is forged differently; some crack at a touch, others endure beyond belief, still others are tempered by events and time.’

Fiction | The Online Edition

Then

Mark Slouka

‘It was in January, I think. That weekend, more than any other, the thought of her leaving seemed impossible.’

Essays & Memoir | The Online Edition

The Little Museum of Memory

Mark Slouka

‘Maybe they're worried that their absence will be noticed. Maybe they just want to come home.’