Review: The Fortunate Brother by Donna Morrissey @canongatebooks




A powerful tale of a family reeling from the tragic loss of a son, while facing a mysterious murder on their doorstep–told by one of Canada’s most beloved voices.

After being uprooted from their fishing outport, the Now family is further devastated by the tragic loss of their eldest son, Chris, who died working on an Alberta oil rig. Kyle Now is still mourning his older brother when the murder of a local bully changes everything. The victim’s blood is found on the family’s pier, and suspicion falls first on an alienated wife, and then finally on the troubled Now family.

But behind this new turmoil, Chris’s death continues to plague the family. Father Sylvanus Now drowns his sorrow in a bottle, while mother Addie is facing breast cancer. And the children fight their own battles as the tension persists between Kyle and his sister, Sylvie, over her role in their brother’s death.


So I’m pretty terrible at writing reviews for literary fiction novels because I’m not particularly eloquent and I feel like you need to be for these books! So please excuse the lack of detail in the following review…

I picked this novel up not really sure what to expect from it. I suppose I imagined a slow-moving murder-mystery with a strong focus on the characters. And guess what? This is a mystery literary fiction, so that’s exactly what I got!

This was a slow going novel, and there is never really a point (until maybe right at the end) where the pace picks up, so you slowly plod along through the story. As to be expected really, when the story is based in a run-down, slightly behind the time’s little village. However, after around 20 minutes of reading, I already found myself immersed in the story and its characters.

Before going into this book, I hadn’t realised it was the end of a trilogy. It doesn’t say anywhere on the actual book that it’s part of a series, and honestly, it read perfectly fine as a standalone novel. I think one of the things that could be benefitted from starting this series from book 1 is that connection and background information you get about some of the characters.

As with most literary fiction, this is a stunningly beautifully written book, with picturesque descriptions and in-depth, realistic characters. Kyle and his family in this novel are brutally honest portrayals of people living in small, reasonably poor towns and their family relationship was beautifully real.

In terms of the story, this was nothing revolutionary but it was interesting to watch the events unfold and see how everyone’s stories came together to conclude the murder of a villager. I can’t say the reveal of the murderer was particularly clever or surprising, but I felt the why was far more interesting.

Overall I really enjoyed this read. Although it was emotional (I cried at the end) and quite poignant, as it touches on some difficult subjects, it was still an easy book to read.

Thanks to Netgalley and Canongate Books for giving me the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.

*Buy it here: Amazon UK | Book Depository | Wordery

2 Replies to “Review: The Fortunate Brother by Donna Morrissey @canongatebooks”

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