The Little Brother: A Novel

The Little Brother: A Novel

by Victoria Patterson

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

Life is pretty sweet for Even Hyde. Despite his parents’ divorce in 2001, he’s doing just fine, having chosen to live with his richly successful father in Newport Beach, California. When not spending ‘bonding’ time with his partially absent father, he has his run of the house, where he more or less comes and goes as he pleases.

Even’s older brother Gabe continues to live in Cucamonga with their emotionally unstable mother. Though he feels discarded and left behind, Gabe visits Even and their father on the weekends.

Even doesn’t seem too worried about Gabe’s quick-to-ignite temper or his evolving addiction to skipping school and smoking weed.

But then Gabe commits a crime so unbelievably heinous that Even can’t forgive his own flesh and blood for it. In his personal recounting for THE LITTLE BROTHER, Even shares the events immediately following his brother and two of his friends savagely gang raping (while videotaping) an unconscious girl. When Gabe somehow ends up losing the video tape (which ends up in Even’s hand) it is up to Even to make the life-changing decision: does he do the right thing and turn his own brother in to the police or does family come first?

This jaw-dropping novel, reminiscent of Louise Erdrich’s The Round House and Herman Koch’s The Dinner, shows how cruel the awfulness of human behavior can be and how sometimes even the right decisions feel wrong, no matter how you convince yourself otherwise.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781619027459
Publisher: Counterpoint Press
Publication date: 08/09/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Victoria Patterson is the author of the novel The Peerless Four. She also wrote This Vacant Paradise , selected as an Editor's Choice by The New York Times Book Review. Drift , her collection of interlinked short stories, was a finalist for the California Book Award and the 2009 Story Prize. The San Francisco Chronicle selected Drift as one of the best books of 2009. Her work has appeared in various publications and journals, including the Los Angeles Times , Alaska Quarterly Review , and the Southern Review. She lives with her family in Southern California and teaches at the Antioch University's Master of Fine Arts program and as a Visiting Assistant Professor at UC Riverside.

Read an Excerpt


“Even,” she said now, through the phone, “help me.”
My gut clenched. “What is it? What happened, Sara? Where are you?” I rolled over, sat up, and turned on the lamp. Car accident, I thought, death, limbs torn off, drinking and driving, beaten by her jackass pot-dealing boyfriend.
Blinking, I was relieved to find in the light the regularity and familiarity of my bedroom. But that Sara cried scared me considerably. She’s a tough girl. I’d never seen or heard her cry before, and I haven’t seen or heard her cry since.
She gave me her boyfriend’s address on Amethyst, told me that I needed to come right now; right this second; no time to waste. She couldn’t tell me why. It would take too long to explain.
“Hurry, Even,” she said, in a hushed and shaky voice. “Don’t tell anyone. Don’t let anyone see you. Just come.”
I did hurry, wearing jeans and a T-shirt, no shoes, pulling on a hooded zipper-front sweatshirt on my way out, forgetting my driver’s license. Careful not to make noise as I shut the front door; starting the BMW parked at the curb and flinching, wanting it to be more quiet. I noticed only a few cars on the road, headlights lighting up the darkness.
I couldn’t find a place to park—if you’ve been to Balboa Island in the summer, you know what I mean—but I finally got a spot three blocks from the house. Running down the street in my bare feet, my teeth rattling and my sweatshirt flapping out behind me, I had a strong urge to turn back around.
But I thought about Sara crying and kept going.
She waited for me outside the house near the patio, behind a tree, and she came out when she saw me, her hands wrapped tightly across her chest, trembling. She wore a thin pale blue dress—at first I thought it a nightgown—and no shoes.
“Jesus,” she said, “hurry, hurry,” and she took me to the side of the house, a dark small space, where on the dirt lay something wrapped in a pink towel.
“Hurry,” she said, the tears coming, “hurry, hurry. Fuck, shit, I know they’re coming. Hurry, Even. What do I do? What do I do? They’ll be back for it,” and she unearthed Gabe’s Samsung video camera from beneath the towel, flipped the little screen open, pressed play, and handed it to me.
While I watched she spoke, frantic and scared, in one long jumbled explanation, no longer crying, and not looking at the screen with me, instead looking all around her—“They bragged about a porno; showed up at about two this morning, your brother and this other guy, and they kept talking about it, saying they’d fucked this girl with a pool cue, did anyone want to watch? Then Joe and this other guy says yeah, sure, let’s see. But then they wouldn’t let them watch. Stupid shits. But then when they left the party, they forgot their camera, stupid fucking asses, dumb shits forgot it. Left it right on the couch. So everyone’s asleep, the party finally over, there’s like three people passed out on the floor near the couch, but I’m still wired. Did a line, can’t sleep, can’t tell Joe, he thinks I quit coke, so I open the thing and look at it, and oh my fucking god, what do I do? Is she dead? She looks dead! What is that, Even? Oh my god! What do I do, what do I do?”
What I saw and heard on that small flip screen I still unwillingly see and hear, when I’m lying in bed or at the grocery store, or just taking a walk, whether my eyes are closed or not, because it’s imprinted inside me, and it can never go away.
Some things are so terrible that you can’t fully comprehend what they mean. I don’t know how to explain my horror, and all that I do know is that the indelible effect of what I saw is too much.

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