Presenter Niyosha Keyzad
An intensely beautiful, searingly powerful, tightly constructed novel, Brother explores questions of masculinity, family, race, and identity as they are played out in a Scarborough housing complex during the sweltering heat and simmering violence of the summer of 1991.
With shimmering prose and mesmerizing precision, David Chariandy takes us inside the lives of Michael and Francis. They are the sons of Trinidadian immigrants, their father has disappeared and their mother works double, sometimes triple shifts so her boys might fulfill the elusive promise of their adopted home.
Coming of age in The Park, a cluster of town houses and leaning concrete towers in the disparaged outskirts of a sprawling city, Michael and Francis battle against the careless prejudices and low expectations that confront them as young men of black and brown ancestry — teachers stream them into general classes; shopkeepers see them only as thieves; and strangers quicken their pace when the brothers are behind them. Always Michael and Francis escape into the cool air of the Rouge Valley, a scar of green wilderness that cuts through their neighbourhood, where they are free to imagine better lives for themselves.
Propelled by the pulsing beats and styles of hip hop, Francis, the older of the two brothers, dreams of a future in music. Michael’s dreams are of Aisha, the smartest girl in their high school whose own eyes are firmly set on a life elsewhere. But the bright hopes of all three are violently, irrevocably thwarted by a tragic shooting, and the police crackdown and suffocating suspicion that follow.
With devastating emotional force David Chariandy, a unique and exciting voice in Canadian literature, crafts a heartbreaking and timely story about the profound love that exists between brothers and the senseless loss of lives cut short with the shot of a gun.
Niyosha Keyzad completed an Honours BSc (with Distinction) from UTSC in 2010, with a double major in Evolutionary Anthropology and English. She received a Masters of Arts in American and Postcolonial Literatures from McGill University, where she taught a number of creative writing courses and worked as the Editorial Assistant for the McGill News Alumni Magazine. She spent a year teaching English in France at Lycée du Golfe de Saint Tropez and Collège Victor Hugo, before returning to the University of Toronto to pursue a PhD at the Department of English and the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies. Her doctoral research focuses on memoirs of the Iranian diaspora, literatures of exile and displacement, and theories of space and identity.
Niyosha has previously served as the Editorial Assistant of the Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry, founding Chair of the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union Race and Ethnicity Caucus, and Co-Chair of the Diversity Committee at Massey College, where she is a Junior Fellow. More recently, she co-founded the Scarborough Studies Collective – an initiative dedicated to the critical study of Scarborough across disciplines and the community. Niyosha is currently an instructor and Course Coordinator for ‘Critical Writing About Literature’ (ENGA02) at UTSC’s Department of English. She is a Massey College Junior Fellow.