Brothers and Keepers

John Edgar Wideman

I could never run fast enough or far enough. Robby was inside me. Wherever he was, running for his life, he carried part of me with him.
Brothers and Keepers by John Edgar Wideman (Paperback ISBN 9781786892041) book cover

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The seminal memoir from John Edgar Wideman, one of the standout black American writers of the modern age and winner of the 2017 Prix Femina Étranger

Brothers and Keepers is John Edgar Wideman’s seminal memoir about two brothers – one an award-winning novelist, the other a fugitive. Wideman recalls the capture of his younger brother Robby, details the subsequent trials that resulted in a sentence of life in prison, and provides vivid views of the American prison system.

A gripping, unsettling account, Brothers and Keepers weighs the bonds of blood, tenderness and guilt that connect him to his brother and measures the distance that lies between them.


“A master storyteller, both a witness and a prophet”
Caryl Phillips

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“A rare triumph … Wideman has succeeded in both understanding his brother’s life and coming to terms with his own”
new York Times

“Powerful and disturbing … Brothers and Keepers is guaranteed to shock and sadden”
washington Post

“Brave and brilliant, an almost frightening thing to behold”
philadelphia Enquirer

“A profound writer”
Richard Ford


John Edgar Wideman

John Edgar Wideman’s books include Writing to Save a Life, Philadelphia Fire, American Histories, Fatheralong, Hoop Roots and Sent for You Yesterday. He is a MacArthur Fellow and has won the PEN/Faulkner Award twice and has been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and National Book Award. In 2017, he won the the Prix Femina Étranger for Writing to Save a Life. He divides his time between New York and France.



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