The Last Brother is set against the backdrop of a little-known event during World War II: in 1940, approximately 1,500 Jews were detained on the island nation of Mauritius, having been turned away from Palestine. Raj, however, knows nothing of a war across the ocean — he only knows that there are new, strange people at the prison where his father works. One prisoner in particular, a young boy named David, catches his attention, and they soon form an unlikely friendship. When opportunity arises, Raj attempts to break David out.
“It was only when I was hidden, squeezed in, tucked away, that I was calm, that I was more or less at ease. Outside there were too many new things for my solitary self and I would have liked to be able to share the abundance of this calm, blue sky, the profusion of the forest’s deep, unending gree, and, above all, the silence that spread like the sea, creeping in everywhere, into the house, behind my father, around my mother, by day, by night, a tangible silence that was the foundation upon which my little decimated family now rested.”
Nathacha Appanah moved from Mauritius to France as a teenager, and worked as a journalist and writer. She has published multiple books, though The Last Brother is the only one to be translated into English.
Length: 165 pages
Set in: Mauritius
Translated by: Geoffrey Strachan
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