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June 05 , 2008

My Brother's Name

A Novel


Jane Fields has idolized her older brother, John, since they were children. She follows in his footsteps as a drummer, and when he suffers a psychotic break as a young man, she follows him into the bewildering landscape of mental illness.
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Surrendering to John’s schizophrenic and elliptical logic, Jane assumes her older brother’s identity, and begins to make a life for herself as a young man named John. Every day, Jane interacts with the world as John, and then comes home to tell her brother the stories of his own life, under the naïve and perhaps mad hope that these stories will help John remember and return to the self he lost. But in the act of being John, Jane runs the risk of becoming him. Jane soon identifies more strongly with the man she’s become than the overshadowed woman she once was. When John begins to demand that Jane give up certain aspects of the life she’s built under her assumed identity, particularly a romance, Jane’s double life becomes a house of cards that threatens to collapse. Jane and John are forced to confront the limits of their ability to control each other, and the world around them, through the stories they tell-but just how deep into mental illness can Jane slide?
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