The Brothers Silver
Jules and Leon Silver are living in a broken family. They live with their mother in New York, while their estranged father lives in New Jersey. The boys view their Father, Edwin, disdainfully for abandoning them. Chaos underscores their day-to-day life with their Mother Ethel. Ethel is beset by bipolar disorder, productive and manic days surrounded by depressive moods of inertia. Her relationship with Edwin was broken by his infidelities and his cruelty. Ethel’s fragile mental state deteriorated with the passing years of their union.
The boys’ early days of youthful exuberance have passed, they are prodded for any negative information they can feed their father regarding their mother. They are constantly on alert for Ethel’s latest crash, occasionally punctuated by a suicide attempt. When Ethel is on an even keel, She is beatific, when on the downside, she is manipulative and self-pitying. The boys look out for each other, yet there is a brewing rivalry that occasionally leads to fits of violence.
Jules loses himself in moments when he can truly escape the confines of home and hearth. Sliding down a hill, abandoning all caution provides a freedom he can’t find anywhere else. He finds himself growing more and more disgusted at his parents’ behavior and foibles. Jules and Leon’s impressionable years have been marred beyond belief.
As the boys become men, they have gone down divergent paths. In 1969, Jules set out for college and has become a peacenik to his Father’s chagrin. Leon is now seventeen years old, with the prospects of being a burn-out and college dropout. Leon and Edwin spar constantly. The dysfunction that Edwin and Ethel witnessed in their own childhoods has now been passed down to their own offspring.
Leon’s parents had high aspirations for his future. They doted on him while giving Jules short shrift. Leon looks back on that and spurns it with a devil may care existence, perpetually underachieving. His life consists of walking into the wind. Jules lived in the shadow of his younger Brother and lived much of his life with a boulder size chip on his shoulder. Love was elusive, almost never pure, relationships came and went, and anger threatened to eat him alive. And now, Jules has decided to assess parts of his life, seeking answers in the past.
The Brothers Silver is an emotionally wrenching tale of a family that plays out over fifty years. The emotions on display throughout are various and palpable. When the narrative shifts, from Jules to Leon to Edwin or Ethel, the reader’s mood will adapt to that persona and will find themselves empathetic, sympathetic, or occasionally the exact opposite. The characters are not necessarily likable in all circumstances, but they are relatable. A fascinating read.
|Owl Canyon Press
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