Siblings is the story of ten children, nine of whom are brought up by the eldest who, apart from being the narrator, is keen, capable and obedient to his parents. He has been taught to care for the other nine but also to control them. When the parents are dead and he is in charge, they try to resist him but it is not easy, such are the bonds that tie them together. This is set in a time of generational change from a strict and disciplined society, in which the acquisition of skills is crucial, to a society that is more relaxed (at least for those who don't have such an elder brother), deskilled and drawn to consumerism.
This novel is not just about the claustrophobic nature of the nuclear family; it is also about the interdependence of the powerful and the powerless, but in the end that bond has to be broken as the reader will discover.