The Haves and Have-Nots All Sustain Injuries in New Novel


“We are all invincible until the first heart attack,” writes Nick McDonell in his second novel, The Third Brother. McDonell was hailed as the next Jim Carroll when he appeared on the literary radar at the age of 17 with Twelve. The Third Brother continues Twelve‘s exposé of privilege and tragedy through the character of Mike, a Harvard undergrad. Divided into three parts, the novel begins the summer before 9-11 as the narrator reports on the seedy Bangkok drug scene. Returning home to grieve over a family tragedy, he bears personal witness to 9-11. Eventually the weight of these events propels him down a path of manic action and thought while he struggles to finish his Ivy League education. This endnote of desperation completes the melancholy mood of the novel, making one thing clear: The haves and have-nots “all sustain injuries.”