Review: The Night Brother by Rosie Garland

the night brotherI picked up this book solely based on it’s cover. (I mean, it looks pretty cool, right?) I know you aren’t supposed to do that – judge a book by its cover. But what can I say.

It’s kind of hard to describe the book. It’s about Edie and Herbert (who likes to be called Gnome), and it is set in early 1900’s Manchester. They basically share the same body, Edie during the day and Gnome at night. You can see how that might pose a bit of a problem.

I feel like I should have liked this book more. I really enjoyed The Night Circus and A Discovery of Witches, and I thought this would be in that zone. While it is, it’s not – it almost exists in a half -life like Edie and Gnome.

As I was reading, I was trying to pinpoint why I was struggling, and I can’t quite put my finger on it. I feel like the author never really hits her stride in terms of the story telling. I think she packs a bit too much into it – the women’s suffragette movement, independence, the struggle between mother and daughter, exploring your sexuality, the oppression of homosexuality… get the picture.

I did enjoy the story. It was inventive and imaginative. I did feel transported to the time and place.

As I finished it, I was happy I read it. I think that it tackles gender roles and fluidity in a very interesting way. And I think it gave me a new appreciation for those struggles.

If you enjoyed books like The Night Circus, then I think you might enjoy this one. I rated it a 3/5 on Goodreads. If I could give half stars, I would have definitely given it a 3.5.

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