Brothers Keepers

Brothers Keepers, Paperback by Westlake, Donald E., Like New Used, Free shipp... 9781785657153 ...

Brothers Keepers has all the earmarks of Westlake’s subtle touch, his humor, and his stark plain matter-of-factness. Don’t dare try to pin this one down and categorize it. Although definitely not a crime caper, it’s not one thing or another.

It’s a story of a small band of monks ensconced in a monastery on Park Avenue, only leaving to get the Sunday paper, and busily contemplating things. And so It went for two centuries, until the land value escalated and the lease ran out and the bulldozers approached. If only they could somehow find the lease and know for certain what their legal rights are.

And, strangely enough, in these certain respects, Westlake’s novel bears some similarities to A Canticle For Leibowitz, at least in the sense of the band of pious monks cut off from the outside world and their reverence for ancient legal manuscripts.

There’s an odd humor about this strange little book with the monks venturing out on the subway and walking miles rather than spending money on taxis. It’s as if they are strangers in this strange land which is so unlike the life of their monastery. And, stranger too, is Brother Benedict falling in love as he sets eyes 👀 on the first damsel he’s seen in ten years. His innocence and naïveté is particularly charming.

In comparison to much of Westlake’s work, there’s not a whole lot Going on, but somehow he keeps you, the reader, interested. It’s certainly one of his minor works, but there’s something enjoyable about it.

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