Book Notification

Zain Khalid Books In Order

Book links take you to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn money from qualifying purchases.

Publication Order of ZainKhalid Standalone Novels

Zain Khalid is a published author of fiction. The American writer favors novels and hails from New York.

He scored big reviews and critical praise and acclaim with the release of his debut novel Brother Alive in 2022. The book would win itself the NYPL Young Lions Fiction Award. It also was a finalist for the best first book in any genre at the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize.

Khalid received the CLMP Firecracker Award as well as the 2023 Bard Fiction Prize. He has seen his writing be featured in all sorts of publications, from Astra Magazine to McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern to n+1, The New Yorker, The Believer, and more. Zain Khalid also is a contributing editor for The Drift.

Brother Alive is the first novel to come out from this author. It’s an interesting debut that focuses in on themes of sexuality, family, capitalist control systems, and more. The story focuses on the three main characters, three young adopted brothers that live with their adopted father, an imam, in Staten Island above a mosque.

The story takes place in the year 1990. Three young baby boys are born into the world. None of them are related by blood or genetics, but they all end up being called together by the same twist of fate. As circumstance would have it, the infants Dayo, Iseul, and Youssef are all destined to not only have a home and a family but to go to the same home and family together. No longer will they be alone.

Adopted as babies, the boys end up living together in a bedroom that is located in Coolidge. It’s one of the most dangerous and diverse areas in Staten Island, and the kids live there above a mosque. They all hang out together and the trio is easily recognized, and they are always in each others’ company, rarely being glimpsed without the others nearby.

The three young boys also tend to stick out because of how different they appear. Dayo has Nigerian roots, while Iseul is Korean, and Youssef is Middle Eastern. The three aren’t that different, but they are in the fact that one of them is keeping to themselves a secret that they are not sure that they should share with the others, and for what is likely a good reason.

Youssef is not like the other boys because he has been seeing a double. He’s been hallucinating witnessing an imaginary friend. The person he is seeing seems real to him in all ways, and is able to shapeshift. For Youssef, it’s almost like having a familiar, and he has given the double the name of Brother.

Then there’s the father of the boys, Imam Salim. The adoptive dad is well known to the community for giving his sermons, often delivered in a radical and impassioned fashion. Imam Salim may be present for these religious devotions, but he is also different when it comes to the home. When he is home, he is frequently removed from the rest of the family. He is absent in his own way, choosing to retreat into his study to spend long evenings there drinking his coffee laced with whiskey. There he also pens letters that he sends to old compatriots living in Saudi Arabia.

He also has secrets that he is hiding, just like his young adopted son Youssef. This extends to the true reason behind why his health has been failing as well as something a little more personal to the boys: what exactly ended up happening in the end to their parents that led them to be up for adoption in the first place. It’s something that the boys will likely want to find out about, but in the event that it actually happens, are they emotionally prepared to face the truth?

The Imam also does not see coming another change in his journey. He is surprised when his path ends up leading him back to the Saudi Arabia that he has known, and his adopted children will have to eventually follow after him as they are a family and cannot simply live where they have been living legally without adult supervision.

The boys have no idea what is waiting for them in Saudi Arabia, a location that could not be more different from where they grew up in Staten Island, both geographically and in nature of culture. But whatever they were expecting of this area is totally wiped from their minds as they take in and witness the opulence of this place, a world that is so advanced that is almost seems futuristic. The city that the boys now find themselves in appears to be offering a more modern culture and one that is more sustainable than the West has.

However, the brothers are going to have to do a lot if they want to adapt to this new world that they find themselves in. They also are going to have to contend with the fact that the arrival of a strange and powerful creature like Brother in these parts is going to be something that garners a little bit of attention. Will Brother end up going unnoticed, or is this going to be a very large problem for Youssef?

This novel has been praised by readers and critics alike for its intrigue, its intelligent style, and its acuteness. Brother Alive is not only a breakout debut novel from Zain Khalid but also a truly unique read that is going to keep whoever picks it up endlessly interested and caught up in the story from absolute beginning to end. This is the tale of a family that came together out of nothing and perhaps even the story of redemption and reunion for people who are broken and never expected it.

Sound like an interesting story to you? Be sure to pick up a copy of Brother Alive by Zain Khalid to follow along with the whole saga from the beginning all the way to the end and enjoy this powerful debut!

Book Series In Order » Authors » Zain Khalid

Leave a Reply