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Laura Krughoff

Minneapolis (August 2013)—“He’s the crazy one, but I think I’ve been making things worse. Living in his reality, if that makes any sense.” Laura Krughoff’s debut novel My Brother’s Name [September 3, 2013 | 978-0-9830219-4-0 (tr)] is gutsy and poignant as it tackles themes of gender roles, transgender identity, self-identity, familial and sibling love, and coming of age.

Jane Fields has idolized her older brother, John, since they were children. She follows in his footsteps as a drummer, and when he suffers a psychotic break as a young man, she follows him into the bewildering landscape of mental illness. Surrendering to John’s schizophrenic and elliptical logic, Jane assumes her older brother’s identity, and begins to make a life for herself as a young man named John. But in the act of being John, Jane runs the risk of becoming him. When John begins to demand that Jane give up certain aspects of the life she’s built under her assumed identity, particularly a romance, Jane’s double life becomes a house of cards that threatens to collapse.

Requested by the Stonewall Book Awards and the ALA Rainbow Project committee, My Brother’s Name is making waves with reviewers and readers alike for it’s LGBTQ themes and the questions about identity it asks the reader to explore. “...Krughoff creates a fascinating portrait of a family coping with mental illness and explores the outer limits of sisterly love. My Brother’s Name plays with our usual expectations and opens up a new perspective on self and gender identity” (ForeWord Reviews).

The title falls into several other popular genres beside LGBTQ, including new adult and psychological fiction. My Brother’s Name is a full novel about folie à deux, or shared psychotic disorder—a psychiatric syndrome in which symptoms of a delusional belief are transmitted from one individual to another. Although a rare disorder, there have been several case studies as well as mainstream articles in the past few years regarding it such as Slate Magazine’s 2010 article “Two Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”
Not only is this great fiction for any reader in general, it’s fiction perfect for book clubs, gender and humanity studies, and those interested in behavioral psychology. After picking it up, you won’t want to put it down, and when you’re finished, you’ll be wondering why it ended.

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