"This slim and vital novel is a tour de force; it will floor you, and lift you right the way up--I adored it." --Claire-Louise Bennett, author of Pond
During the summer of 2014, on one of the stormiest days on record to hit the coast of Uruguay, 31-year old Alejandro, lifeguard and younger brother of our protagonist and narrator, dies after being struck by lightning. This marks the opening of a novel that combines memoir and fiction, unveiling an intimate exploration of the brotherly bond, while laying bare the effects that death can have on those closest to us and also on ourselves.
It's always the happiest and most talented who die young. People who die young are always the happiest of all...
Can grief be put into words? Can we truly rationalise death to the point of embracing it? Older Brother is the vehicle Mella uses to tackle these fundamental questions, playing with tenses and narrating in the future, as if all calamities described are yet to unfold.
In a style reminiscent of Bret Easton Ellis and J.D. Salinger, recalling in parts Cronenberg's or Burgess's examination of violence and society, Mella takes us with him in this dizzying journey right into the centre of his own neurosis and obsessions, where fatality is skilfully used to progressively draw the reader further in.