The Third Brother by Nick McDonell

McDonell's ambitions initially seem very promising.

Book Review by Keir Hind | 16 May 2006
Book title: The Third Brother
Author: Nick McDonell
Nick McDonell's first book, 'Twelve', was written when he was just 17 and it sold very well. It was well written too, in the style of Bret Easton Ellis or Jay McInerney – Nick shares an agent with them. He's 22 now, and his second book, 'The Third Brother', hasn't been quite as successful. There are reasons for this. The book is awkwardly set over three locations. First, Thailand, where the lead character, Mike, a precocious youngster, is sent to do a story by the Hong Kong newspaper where he interns. This part of the book is the most successful, because McDonell gives a great feel for the place, all tourism and smoky bars. Best of all, the nicely interwoven story of Mike's family history begins to impact the main narrative. But when we move back to New York in time for 9/11/01, and then on to Harvard, the effect is jarring, the prose becomes slighter and the book begins to feel rushed. This is a shame, because McDonell's initial aims seem very promising. 'The Third Brother' is worth seeking out, especially if you enjoyed 'Twelve', but one is left with the sense that McDonell currently lacks the maturity to match his ambitions. [Keir Hind]
Published by Atlantic Books. Out Now. Cover Price £10.99