My Brother’s Gun by Ray Loriga

Right then… This was the free book for members from Canongate when I ordered
Loriga’s other book (Tokyo Doesn’t Love Us
Anymore
). What a shock. The subtitle says it all: “A Novel of Disposable
Lives, Immediate Fame and a Big Black Automatic”. The narrator’s older brother
finds a gun and uses it to kill a security guard in a local store. Thing is,
the family are attractive, and all of a sudden the narrator and his mother are
all over the telly…

It’s a real shocker this one… Amoral in a way that I haven’t read since
Brett Easton Ellis’ Less Than Zero or Guinzberg’s Beam Me Up, Scotty.

I read it as a story of a boy’s unquestioning love for his older brother…
The blurb says that it’s a “wickedly funny and breathtakingly lucid treatment of
media and the cult of celebrity.” It’s both really I guess – the narrator spends
most of the book almost justifying what his brother has done, finding ways to make
sense of the brutal actions and always seeing something cool in what happened. At
the same time he and his mother become media darlings, entirely due to their
looks.

I’m not sure I’m really the person to review this book – I like this kind of
novel, but I can’t really offer much intellectual wrapping for it. It’s a quick
read – it’s only 120 pages long, and these are sparsely populated pages. It’s
enjoyable, it’s linguistically elegant in its quite deliberate naivety, it’s bleak,
it’s all the things that books like this should be. It makes me think more of
films though – films like Bonny and Clyde or Natural Born Killers or Outlands. Or
Less Than Zero. Or Man Bites Dog. Or Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer. I think
that may actually say it all. It’s a good book, but it’s not a great book. It
will probably make a very popular film.

I seriously recommend you read Michael Guinzberg’s
Beam Me Up, Scotty
before this. It’s a more intelligent, more shocking, more angry book than this.
If, after that, you still want another outsider novel this one is a bit less…
how shall I put it..? Challenging. Enjoyable, but I’m enjoying Tokyo Doesn’t Love Us
Anymore
a lot more… Review to come…