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"The Bad Angel Brothers" | Reviewed by William Winkler

Paul Theroux is one of contemporary America’s most prolific authors, with over 30 books of fiction and nearly 20 travel volumes to his credit. In his latest book, “The Bad Angel Brothers,” Theroux combines elements of fiction and travel in a story of familial conflict and resolution.

The novel details the lives of the Belanger brothers, Frank and Cal as they grow up in the fictional Boston exurb of Littleford. The older brother, Frank, achieved a law degree and remained in Littleford


where he built a lucrative law practice. Cal, the younger brother and narrator of the first-person novel, earned a degree in geology and spent a great deal of time away from his hometown, first in the American West, then in multiple overseas locations searching for gold, precious gems, and rare minerals.

Both brothers are financially successful and have accumulated sizable personal assets. At the time of the story’s onset both are in their 50s.

Over the years Frank had always attempted to belittle his younger brother and on numerous occasions appropriated stories from Cal’s life and embellished them as his own. As teenagers the two brothers had attempted to swim across a swollen creek. Cal, a strong swimmer, made the crossing but Frank failed, slipping beneath the murky waters. Cal saved his brother’s life but learned, much later in life that Frank had turned the story on its head, claiming that he had saved Cal’s life.

Frank managed to worm his way into his brother’s life, fraudulently becoming co-owner of Cal’s home, sabotaging Cal’s marriage and alienating Cal from his only son. Ultimately Frank was able to ruin Cal financially, driving the younger brother to plan an ultimate act of revenge.

Theroux builds the deepening chasm between the two brothers at a satisfying pace, and when the final scenes arrive is able to bring the story to a modestly predicable, but believable conclusion.

Readers who have enjoyed Theroux’s travel writings will find a great deal to identify with in this book as he describes how child workers are exploited in mining operations around the globe. And those who have enjoyed his works of pure fiction will be reminded again of his ability to create a story that holds the reader’s attention until the last page.

Buy the Book.

Paul Theroux is one of contemporary America’s most prolific authors, with over 30 books of fiction and nearly 20 travel volumes to his credit. In his latest book, “The Bad Angel Brothers,” Theroux combines elements of fiction and travel in a story of familial conflict and resolution.

The novel details the lives of the Belanger brothers, Frank and Cal as they grow up in the fictional Boston exurb of Littleford. Frank, the older brother, achieved a law degree and remained in Littleford, where he built a lucrative law practice. Cal, the younger brother and narrator of the first-person novel, earned a degree in geology and spent a great deal of time away from his hometown, first in the American West, then in multiple overseas locations searching for gold, precious gems, and rare minerals.

Both brothers are financially successful and have accumulated sizable personal assets. At the time of the story’s onset both are in their 50s.

Over the years Frank had always attempted to belittle his younger brother and on numerous occasions appropriated stories from Cal’s life and embellished them as his own. As teenagers the two brothers had attempted to swim across a swollen creek. Cal, a strong swimmer, made the crossing but Frank failed, slipping beneath the murky waters. Cal saved his brother’s life but learned, much later in life that Frank had turned the story on its head, claiming that he had saved Cal’s life.

Frank managed to worm his way into his brother’s life, fraudulently becoming co-owner of Cal’s home, sabotaging Cal’s marriage and alienating Cal from his only son. Ultimately Frank was able to ruin Cal financially, driving the younger brother to plan an ultimate act of revenge.

Theroux builds the deepening chasm between the two brothers at a satisfying pace, and when the final scenes arrive is able to bring the story to a modestly predicable, but believable conclusion.

Readers who have enjoyed Theroux’s travel writings will find a great deal to identify with in this book as he describes how child workers are exploited in mining operations around the globe. And those who have enjoyed his works of pure fiction will be reminded again of his ability to create a story that holds the reader’s attention until the last page.

Buy the Book.



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