"Superb...[Older Brother] accomplishes what the best kind of reporting can do: wade into questions that resist simple answers, while restoring dignity to its characters."--The New York Times Books Review
Older Brother is the poignant story of a Franco-Syrian family whose father and two sons try to integrate themselves into a society that doesn't offer them many opportunities.
The father, an atheist communist who moved from Syria to France for his studies and stayed for love, has worked for decades driving a taxi to support his family. The eldest son is a driver for an app-based car service, which comically puts him at odds with his father, whose very livelihood is threatened by this new generation of disruptors. The younger son, shy and serious, works as a nurse in a French hospital. Jaded by the regular rejections he encounters in French society, he decides to join a Muslim humanitarian organization to help wounded civilians in the war in Syria. But when he stops sending news home, the silence begins to eat away at his father and brother who wonder what his real motivations were. When younger brother returns home, he has changed. Guven alternates between an ironic take on contemporary society and the gravity of terrorist threats. He explores with equal poignancy the lives of "Uberized" workers and actors in the global jihad.
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About the Author
Mahir Guven was born in 1986 in Nantes, the stateless child of refugees, his mother from Turkey and his Kurdish father from Iraq. He grew up with his grandmother between the city and vineyards. Older Brother, his first novel, was awarded the Goncourt First Novel Prize in 2018.
Tina Kover's translations for Europa include Négar Djavadi's National Book Award-shortlisted novel, Disoriental, Anna Gavalda's Life, Only Better, and The Little Girl on the Ice Floe by Adélaïde Bon. Kover is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship for the translation of Manette Salomon by the Goncourt brothers.
Praise for Older Brother
"Superb."--The New York Times Review of Books
"A masterpiece of a first novel."--The Guardian
"A winning debut."--Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"A striking debut that reveals the breadth of emotional disconnection that prejudice can stoke within a family."--Kirkus Reviews
"One of the most astute international debuts of the year."--Shelf Awareness
"In this powerful first novel, written in evocative language, Mahir Guven tells a story from within the very heart of our society, beset by the demons of Uberization and terrorism." --Le courier de l'Atlas
"For his literary debut, Mahir Guven gives readers 300 high-flying pages." --Le Figaro
"With the ambivalent sentiments of this pair of brothers alienated by two systems at its core, this first novel is gripping, illuminating, but also funny. It is a call to renew the dream for all those who set foot on French soil." --L'Obs
"Truly noteworthy. Guven's fine humor and excellent storytelling are on full display. Older Brother will make you laugh, make you question some of your assumptions, and, for many readers, will it will prove to be an encounter with a world not their own."--Nathalie Iris, Mots en marge bookstore in La Garenne-Colombes, France