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Three Brothers: A Novel
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Published:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2014
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Description

Rapier-sharp, witty, intriguing, and mysterious: a new novel from Peter Ackroyd set in the London of the 1960s. Three Brothers follows the fortunes of Harry, Daniel, and Sam Hanway, a trio of brothers born on a postwar council estate in Camden Town. Marked from the start by curious coincidence, each boy is forced to make his own way in the world--a world of dodgy deals and big business, of criminal gangs and crooked landlords, of newspaper magnates, backbiters, and petty thieves. London is the backdrop and the connecting fabric of these three lives, reinforcing Ackroyd's grand theme that place and history create, surround and engulf us. From bustling, cut-throat Fleet Street to hallowed London publishing houses, from the wealth and corruption of Chelsea to the smoky shadows of Limehouse and Hackney, this is an exploration of the city, peering down its streets, riding on its underground, and drinking in its pubs and clubs. Everything is possible--not only in the new freedom of the 1960s but also in London's timeless past.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
03/04/2014
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780385538626
ASIN:
B00F1W0QYC
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APA Citation (style guide)

Peter Ackroyd. (2014). Three Brothers: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Peter Ackroyd. 2014. Three Brothers: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Peter Ackroyd, Three Brothers: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2014.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Peter Ackroyd. Three Brothers: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2014. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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        Peter Ackroyd is an award-winning novelist, broadcaster, biographer, poet, and historian. His novel Hawksmoor won both the Guardian Fiction Prize and the Whitbread Novel Award. His fiction includes The Lambs of London, The Clerkenwell Tales, The Trial of Elizabeth Cree and, most recently, The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein. He lives in London and was awarded a CBE for services to literature.

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Three Brothers
fullDescription

Rapier-sharp, witty, intriguing, and mysterious: a new novel from Peter Ackroyd set in the London of the 1960s.

Three Brothers follows the fortunes of Harry, Daniel, and Sam Hanway, a trio of brothers born on a postwar council estate in Camden Town. Marked from the start by curious coincidence, each boy is forced to make his own way in the world--a world of dodgy deals and big business, of criminal gangs and crooked landlords, of newspaper magnates, backbiters, and petty thieves.
London is the backdrop and the connecting fabric of these three lives, reinforcing Ackroyd's grand theme that place and history create, surround and engulf us. From bustling, cut-throat Fleet Street to hallowed London publishing houses, from the wealth and corruption of Chelsea to the smoky shadows of Limehouse and Hackney, this is an exploration of the city, peering down its streets, riding on its underground, and drinking in its pubs and clubs. Everything is possible--not only in the new freedom of the 1960s but also in London's timeless past.

reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
      • content:

        "[I]ntriguing, a clever romp and a rapid page-turner."

      • premium: False
      • source: Library Journal, starred review
      • content: "With overtones of Greek tragedy and Charles Dickens, this is a literary and engrossing parable and a loving tribute to London in all its depravity."
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly
      • content: "[Ackroyd's] beloved London comes across as warm, coherent, and triumphantly alive."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Telegraph
      • content: "Three Brothers is an alternative autobiography, a ghost story and a murder mystery all in one slim volume. Dickens, Blake, and Eliot--all subjects of lives by Ackroyd--cast shadows over the three-ply narrative that is full of chance and coincidence, 'alliances and affinities,' 'contenders and young pretenders,' shape-shifters and shirt-lifters ... The waspish vignettes of literary London and fusty academe are a delight. The air is full of poison--and echoes of other Ackroyd novels. He sees the capital as 'a web so taut and tightly drawn' that the slightest movement sets off a chain of events ... The brilliant result is the quintessence of Ackroyd."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Scotsman
      • content: "Three Brothers [is] a London novel which is permeated by Dickens ... The themes--lost childhoods and crime--are Dickensian, and the novel is suffused with the author's awareness of the strangeness and often loneliness of the bleak streets of London. There is melodrama and comedy, and this too is Dickensian ... A book full of rich and sudden moments of delight."
      • premium: False
      • source: Daily Mail
      • content: "London is a major character in the novel. In Ackroyd's accomplished hands the city becomes a mystical place, where visions abound. Highly recommended."
      • premium: False
      • source: Financial Times
      • content: "Three Brothers, an amalgam of social satire and noirish thriller, is vintage Ackroyd."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        January 13, 2014
        Ackroyd follows the nonfiction Tudors with a characteristically sly novel juxtaposing the mundane and the mystical in 1960s London. The Hanways are a trio of brothers from working-class Camden Town; each was born in a different year, though all three were born on May 8 at noon. After their mother suddenly disappears, gregarious Harry, scholarly Daniel, and aimless Sam are raised by their emotionally absent father. As they take radically different paths in life, the brothers remain connected, less by affection than by what Ackroyd calls their “invisible communion.” Each encounters the same people, including their mother, boorish newspaper baron Sir Martin Flaxman, slumlord Asher Ruppta, and ebullient thief and male prostitute Sparkler. Around them swirls modern London, full of political corruption, literary backbiting, and violence. Yet the London of the past lives on as well, evident in a seemingly ghostly convent, and in schoolyards, subway tunnels, and monuments that still vibrate with history. Each of the brothers seems to embody different aspects of Ackroyd’s own biography—a segmentation that contributes to their oddly impersonal feel. In contrast, the author’s beloved London comes across as warm, coherent, and triumphantly alive. In this city, Ackroyd writes, coincidence is everywhere, anything is possible, and “everything is connected to everything else.” Agent: Geri Thoma, Writers House.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        January 1, 2014
        The prize-winning British novelist, biographer and critic's intriguing if inconsistent latest is a stew of family saga, murder mystery, political conspiracy and tableau of London's history. Foregrounding the three Hanway boys, born in a working-class corner of the English capital in the mid-20th century, Ackroyd (The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein, 2008, etc.) employs the city itself as both a flickering accumulation of its past and a setting for his small web of interconnected characters. The lives of the boys--Harry, Daniel and Sam--are suddenly disrupted by the disappearance of their mother, who, it later emerges, was sent to prison for soliciting. As they grow up, the young men's paths diverge significantly. Affable Harry rises quickly in the world of journalism and eventually marries a national newspaper proprietor's daughter. Clever, gay Daniel finds a future at Cambridge University and in the literary world, while Sam, a wandering, possibly visionary soul, helps vagrants, rediscovers his mother--now a madam in a brothel--and becomes a rent collector for notorious slum landlord Asher Ruppta, a character who connects all three brothers. With its echoes of Charles Dickens and the angry young men of the 1950s, and its population of caricatures and ghosts, Ackroyd's short novel maintains a patchy course, passing through gothic flourishes to reach an open-ended conclusion. At times humdrum and perfunctory, at others fantastical, this genre-spanning novel offers lightweight bookish entertainment.

        COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        February 1, 2014
        You might know Ackroyd primarily as a biographer of literary masters, including Charles Dickens and T. S. Eliot. But back in the 1980s, Ackroyd's novels (Hawksmoor, etc.) were all the rage. His new novel is a strange, minimalist work of fiction set in midcentury London that lightly traces the lives of the Hanway brothers, all born on the same day at the same time, several years apart. The eldest is Harry, a soulless Fleet Street newspaperman investigating a political scandal. The middle brother is Daniel, a prickly academic who moonlights as a criminal accomplice in Soho. And the youngest, Samunquestionably the novel's highlightis an opaque drifter who wanders the streets and gives his money to vagabonds. One brother quickly drifts into madness, wrought beautifully by Ackroyd's haunting prose: he speaks to nuns who aren't there, visits churches that disappear, and sees visions of moving stones. There's no high-concept premise, no suspenseful turns of plot, other than the mystery of the Hanways' mother and a few fateful intersections, but the crisp narrative is worth a read for Ackroyd's poetic flourishes and the images and atmospheres he conjures from London's dark streets.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2014, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        October 1, 2013

        A Guardian and Whitbread winner for his fiction and renowned for his crusading biography and history as well, Ackroyd here revisits 1960s London with the help of brothers Harry, Daniel, and Sam Hanway, youngsters in a Camden Town council estate whose lives run from Fleet Street to dodgy Limehouse to ritzy Chelsea. Exemplary Brit Grit; fabulous, swinging London; and autobiographical to boot.

        Copyright 2013 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from January 1, 2014

        Ackroyd, a Guardian Fiction Prize and Whitbread award winner, British historian, and biographer, tells a tale of three brothers born in successive years to working-class parents in grimy postwar London. Though playmates in their youth, they grow apart after the painful but never discussed disappearance of their mother. Harry, the eldest, is outgoing and ambitious; Daniel, the middle son, bookish and gay; Sam, the youngest, a troubled loner. By the 1960s, when the bulk of the story takes place, the boys inhabit different universes. The unusual circumstance of their births, announced in the first paragraph of the novel (they all share the same birthday), hints at the surprising and lyrical touches of magical realism that will appear throughout. The theme of coincidence is strong, as, unbeknownst to them, the brothers' vastly different lives nonetheless revolve around the same few shady underworld characters. VERDICT Ackroyd betrays a bleak view of humanity in his London of the swinging Sixties, populated by scheming, greedy murderers. With overtones of Greek tragedy and Charles Dickens, this is a literary and engrossing parable and a loving tribute to London in all its depravity. [See Prepub Alert, 9/9/13.]--Lauren Gilbert, Sachem P.L., Holbrook, NY

        Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        January 1, 2014

        Ackroyd, a Guardian Fiction Prize and Whitbread award winner, British historian, and biographer, tells a tale of three brothers born in successive years to working-class parents in grimy postwar London. Though playmates in their youth, they grow apart after the painful but never discussed disappearance of their mother. Harry, the eldest, is outgoing and ambitious; Daniel, the middle son, bookish and gay; Sam, the youngest, a troubled loner. By the 1960s, when the bulk of the story takes place, the boys inhabit different universes. The unusual circumstance of their births, announced in the first paragraph of the novel (they all share the same birthday), hints at the surprising and lyrical touches of magical realism that will appear throughout. The theme of coincidence is strong, as, unbeknownst to them, the brothers' vastly different lives nonetheless revolve around the same few shady underworld characters. VERDICT Ackroyd betrays a bleak view of humanity in his London of the swinging Sixties, populated by scheming, greedy murderers. With overtones of Greek tragedy and Charles Dickens, this is a literary and engrossing parable and a loving tribute to London in all its depravity. [See Prepub Alert, 9/9/13.]--Lauren Gilbert, Sachem P.L., Holbrook, NY

        Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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shortDescription

Rapier-sharp, witty, intriguing, and mysterious: a new novel from Peter Ackroyd set in the London of the 1960s.

Three Brothers follows the fortunes of Harry, Daniel, and Sam Hanway, a trio of brothers born on a postwar council estate in Camden Town. Marked from the start by curious coincidence, each boy is forced to make his own way in the world--a world of dodgy deals and big business, of criminal gangs and crooked landlords, of newspaper magnates, backbiters, and petty thieves.
London is the backdrop and the connecting fabric of these three lives, reinforcing Ackroyd's grand theme that place and history create, surround and engulf us. From bustling, cut-throat Fleet Street to hallowed London publishing houses, from the wealth and corruption of Chelsea to the smoky shadows of Limehouse and Hackney, this is an exploration of the city, peering down its streets, riding on its underground, and drinking in its pubs and clubs. Everything is...

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