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The Brothers' Keepers by John H. Paddison and Charles D. Orvik

The Brothers' Keepers

by John H. Paddison and Charles D. Orvik

308 pages
The Brothers' Keepers involves the saga of the Lambson family.

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Category: Fiction:Literary
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About the Book
The Brothers’ Keepers, a modern literary novel, is a collaborative work written by John H. Paddison and Charles D. Orvik. Based on the book’s tone, theme, and literary intention, which are similar in style to Sherwood Anderson’s classic Winesburg, Ohio, this work will prove to be a significant contribution to contemporary literature.

As a novel dealing with the saga of one family, the work closely analyzes an ongoing cultural myth of small Midwest American towns and families—that is, the idea and ideal of family values that have come to symbolize that geographic region. Much like Richard Russo recently did in his novel Empire Falls, the story emerges from within a historical framework. The story takes place in the Northeastern part of North Dakota, in the fictional town of Farmington, during and after the Great Depression. The storyline develops around the neglect and then abandonment of five young boys—the Lambson brothers—by their alcoholic mother and their drifter father, and indeed by society in general. Having been exhaustively researched, the novel details in a sensitive yet realistic way the brothers’ development under very adverse physical and social conditions and the five boys’ eventual outcome. Events of the story are structured so as to extract meaning from the youngsters’ trials; the narrative voice is sensitive yet forceful in adding understanding of their tribulations, thus bringing light to two social ills that plague America today—child neglect and child abuse.

Set primarily in the post-depression Midwest, the novel follows five young brothers--Dewey, Duane,Lloyd, Leeland, and Darrell Lambson—from childhood to adulthood. Their parents essentially abandon them in the late 1930s. The narrative focus of the novel is the detailed description of the Lambson boys’ day-to-day struggle to survive physically, emotionally, and socially. After their father leaves them, the boys live on a dilapidated farm on the outskirts of the agricultural community of Farmington, North Dakota with their alcoholic mother. In her own pursuit of escape, she often leaves the children to their own means for extended periods of time. The brothers’ hardships form a strong, familial bond between them—the only definition of family that they can construct from their aberrant circumstances. The broader narrative, though, becomes an attempt to understand how a society that traditionally has always placed so much emphasis on family and family values, at least seemingly, can condone such treatment of the five youngsters. This probing of social responsibility is relevant to today’s society, with children increasingly becoming the victims of abuse and neglect.



About the Author
John H. Paddison is Professor Emeritus at Central Arizona College. He taught there and at several other colleges and universities after receiving his PhD from the University of Arizona. Paddison’s writing career started with numerous non-fiction publications in the education field and has since branched out to the fiction genre. Upcoming publications include a novella entitled The Neighborhood and a photo narrative of his travel experiences in China.

Charles D. Orvik, a retired attorney, practiced law in Rugby, North Dakota for over forty years. During that time he also served as State’s Attorney, as well as Attorney and Counselor for the United States Supreme Court, the United States Federal Court, and the Supreme Court of North Dakota. As a crusader against child abuse and neglect, he has worked closely with the Lutheran Social Services, the North Dakota Mental Health Board, and various North Dakota Human Service Centers.



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