In this content, we will examine Amin Maalouf‘s last novel, Our Unexpected Brothers, full of science fiction elements.
First of all, I could not find the English translation of the novel. Written in French under the name of Nos Freres Inattendus, it has even been translated into Turkish and Spanish, but it does not exist in English. As a result of my research, I learned that it will be translated into English as Our Unexpected Brothers. That’s why I will name the book Our Unexpected Brothers.
The latest novel that ı have read is Our Unexpected Brothers by Amin Maalouf who is Lebanese author. Before reading the novel, I didn’t have much knowledge about the author, but ı have already known his name and the areas that he worked. After getting the novel as a present for my 25th age, I have learnt a lot both the author and his works of art; first of all let’s talk about the Amin Maalouf.
Who is Amin Maalouf?
Born in Lebanon in 1949 as the son of a Turkish mother and a Lebanese father, Amin Maalouf completed his education in Lebanon and worked as a journalist in Lebanon until 1975, when the civil war broke out. The writer, who immigrated to France with the outbreak of the civil war, continued to work here in media organs and got his first thoughts on what immigration is, which he will tell in his book Disordered World, which he will write years later, in France, which is his first immigration experience.
Amin Maalouf, who achieved good sales figures especially after being known for his work called Samarkand, still lives in France today and devotes most of his time to writing his books.
The Books of Amin Maalouf
The author has many books published in English. It is possible to list these books in order as follows.
- Leo Africanus
- The Gardens of Light
- The First Century After Beatrice
- The Rock of Tanios
- Ports of Call
- Balthasar’s Odyssey
- Our Unexpected Brothers
- The Crusades Through Arab Eyes
- In the Name Of Identy
- Origins: A Memoir
- Disordered World
Our Unexpected Brothers, written in 2020, which is the subject of the review, has a striking science fiction feature that can be called dystopia or utopia according to your point of view. Let’s take a look at the summary of Our Unexpected Brothers.
Summary of Our Unexpected Brothers
The book is about a dystopia or a utopia. I have called it in both ways because the way one gets it, covers it or even needs its alters the general views of the book. The novel begins with a normal tone and as the pages go by, the reader sets about wondering upcoming events, exclusively “Empedocles” and the point of views that his friends have.
As during into the novel, we see two discrete civilizations. One is of course ours that is “secular” but have critical problems such as nuclear weapons, radiation, disagreement between nations. With the problems ı have ranged above, we can call the novel as dystopia but if “ours” goes on like that, it will became more than a utopia in a way.
On the other hand the other civilization is also secular and even more secular which has been with us since Ancient Greek. From that point one sees the comparison of these two discrete civilizations.
We see that the other civilizaiton is much more developed than ours in the areas of art, culture, science, technology and exclusively medical science. When compared to this civilization “ours” is showed as a less civilized society and the one which has been need help for a very long time. For example, in the novel both the President of America, who has canser at thermal degree, and lost of people in our World needed to get treatment from this civilized society’s doctors. Also they had such an enchanced technology that they disconnect the internet, radio waves and telecast in the book several times whenever and wherever they wish.
But as far as ı get it, these things occured when they felt a kind of danger or fort he sake of us. Under these conditions, our World form groups. And this is very normal in a way. Because, if he civilized society does’nt have some sincere thoughts about us, this intimacy may have some severe effects for our society. So, by thinking the things above, some people in our society felt worried and damaged one of their floating hospitals by exploding it. Then Empedocles citizens and lots of our citizens died. After that situtation, Empedocles’ Friends disappear acutely, thanks to their advenced technology. And later on a question came up. Should they go or stay with us?
Subject Of Our Unexpected Brothers
The questions above looks simple but it’s really hard for our civilization to answer it. Most of the people including the USA president Howard Milton want Empedocles’ Friends to come back our world and accompany with us in the areas of culture, medical, science etc. Fort his reason, they’re invited to give a speech in front of the World.
They accept the invitation and then talk to our country. They talk mostly about the peace and their effort that they showed to make our World a better place. And they agree the offer of accompanying just with a condition. An for me this condition is the most shocked thing throught the novel. According to them, they accompay with us if we became grown ups.
To sum up the novel, one can infer different ideas from the novel. One can say it’s a total dystopia while one another can say it’s utopia. The point of view that one has, changes general understading of novel. But for me, for a dystopic novel, it’s so good to have such an intimacy with an another civilization. For this reason I see the novel as an utopic novel, which has some dystopic factors. Also the simple, followable sentences and the eager that one has to know upcoming events maket the novel attractive one.
Our Unexpected Brothers Quotes
The excerpts of the book, which is quite immersive, are the same with Zehra Ergeç based on the valuable article in which Zehre Ergeç examines the novel with an eco-critical approach.
“On the afternoon of September 26, a month and a half ago, there was a powerful explosion at the Indian Head, the small river port on the Potomac coast, about thirty kilometers from central Washington. For the first few hours, the local authorities chose the path of denial, not daring to name the event: it was a genuine nuclear explosion! Since the damage did not exceed a thousand meters in diameter, it was understood to be a weak and limited impact bomb, yet there were more than six hundred dead, and thousands of local residents were either injured or exposed to radiation.
If the radioactive cloud was not swept by the westerly wind by chance, there could have been many more victims. Some struggled to put forward the idea of an ‘accidental explosion’ in order to calm things down: nice, since the intention of the owners of this bomb could no doubt be to detonate it there and then, there was no lack of truth in this claim.”
As can be understood from the above quote, another quote that can be shown from the novel, which has a fast and striking narrative, is as follows.
“If good, as often happens, opens the door to evil, he does not even think that it may be his fault. A wise person sees himself responsible for his actions and consequences; man, who has never enjoyed wisdom, considers himself responsible only for his intentions.”
My Notes About The Novel
- The names that the Empedocle’s Friends have some troces from the history. For example, Pausanias is a doc in the novel but he had a relationship with the Empedocles in the history. Also agemennon is a name from tha Anchient Greek.
- The name empedocles is not a fictional one. Empedocles was a Greek pre-Socratic philospher and a natüre citizen of Akroges. His theory is best known for original the cosmogonic theory of the four classical element. (He is the first one to use four elements together (added the soil)) He proposed forces he called lave and strife which wold mix and seperate the elements, respectively.
- According to him, nothing disappears and exists. This is impossible.
- He believed the reincarnotion. He effected, Nietzsche.
The review was sent to our website by Sinan Özkeskin.
Brielfy in My Opinion
Although Amin Maalouf’s fans are surprised by the fact that it is full of science fiction elements, it is a flowing novel worth reading.