Book Review: The Night Brother, by Rosie Garland

Publisher:  The Borough Press

Publication date:  1st June 2017

After previously spending time in A Palace of Curiosities and travelling back to the 14th century with Vixen, I was over the moon to discover the same staggeringly talented author of these two books has a new one on the horizon – The Night Brother.

Once again I find myself lost in the reverie of Rosie Garland’s exquisite writing. Extraordinarily enchanting, The Night Brother’s emotional bounty caresses each page to boldly pursue the trials that can divide and conquer.

Sharing a parallel existence, so one leads by day and the other by night, we see life through the eyes of Edie and Gnome (Herbert). These unique siblings occupy one body in a challenging world, where gender equality is a ludicrous notion and many battles are fought, both publicly and in private.

Edie’s and Gnome’s personalities mature from mischievous children into adults eager spread their wings and take it in reluctant turns to dominate or deny each other’s presence. As happiness beckons they are hounded by confusion and insecurity. Although they are two sides of the same coin acceptance, rather than rejection, could be the difference between being their lives being fulfilled or tormented.

This is an imaginative and affecting tale where the entire cast of this historical-fantasy-romance stage are performers each worthy of an Oscar. Their aspirations and chosen paths of personal contentment are inspired (particularly in the case of Edie’s / Gnome’s Nana – that was an excellent move!)

Embracing the intimacies and complexities of the heart and soul The Night Brother doesn’t feel like a story, but a delectable gift.  All that remains is for me to offer a thunderous round of applause for what is simply an expressive, breath-taking wonder.

Perhaps love is measured not by how much radiance is keeps to itself, but by how much it shines upon the world.

Rating:   5/5

Please note: the above quotation was taken from a proof copy of this book.

(I received a copy of this title from the publisher via Netgalley and welcomed it with open arms. It is my absolute pleasure to not only read this book but to provide and unbiased review.)

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

From the author of The Palace of Curiosities and Vixen comes a dazzling and provocative new novel of adventure, mystery and belonging. The Night Brother shifts tantalisingly between day and night, exploring questions of identity, sexual equality and how well we know ourselves. Perfect for fans of Angela Carter, Sarah Waters and Erin Morgenstern.

Rich are the delights of late nineteenth-century Manchester for young siblings Edie and Gnome. They bicker, banter, shout and scream their way through the city’s streets, embracing its charms and dangers. But as the pair mature, it is Gnome who revels in the night-time, while Edie is confined to the day. She wakes exhausted each morning, unable to quell a sickening sense of unease, and confused at living a half-life.

Reaching the cusp of adulthood, Edie’s confusion turns to resentment and she is determined to distance herself from Gnome once and for all. But can she ever be free from someone who knows her better than she knows herself?

Exploring the furthest limits of sexual and gender fluidity, this is a story about the vital importance of being honest with yourself. Every part of yourself. After all, no-one likes to be kept in the dark.


(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Rosie Garland is a novelist, poet, performer and singer with post-punk band The March Violets. An eclectic writer, she started out in spoken word, going on to garner praise as a performance poet. Her award-winning short stories, poems and essays have been widely anthologised, and her sixth poetry collection, As In Judy, is out now with Flapjack Press. She is the author of Vixen, a Green Carnation Prize nominee. Her debut novel, The Palace of Curiosities, won Book of the Year in the Co-op Respect Awards 2013 and was nominated for both The Desmond Elliott and the Polari First Book Prize. She lives in Manchester and is currently developing a new musical project, Time-Travelling Suffragettes.




9 thoughts on “Book Review: The Night Brother, by Rosie Garland

  1. Oh I read A Palace Of Curiosities a few years ago but hadn’t read Rosie Garland’s second book. I do remember really liking it though, I’ll definitely be looking out for this one 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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