Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

Cain and Abel are the quintessential brothers of the Western world. As such, we see them reflected regularly in literature. Think East of Eden. Think A River Runs Through It. These are brothers loving and hating each other, brothers warring over a common desire, brothers who might kill each other if pushed beyond their limits.

In the astonishing “Blood,” Max and Walker are sons of a dead, alcoholic father and a mother who will not give up on life, though her body fights against her.

What is so quietly, astonishingly beautiful about this story is the tenderness Walker embodies in his forbidden love; at first his desire is infantlike—infallible, wrinkle free, blameless—so much about recapturing the lost father, the lost mother. But such an overwhelming obsession almost always has consequences, or so the Bible tells us. In Walker, as it was in Max as it was in their father, that desire is his undoing.

—Myfanwy Collins

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