In spite of remarkable differences, Tommy and Eric are as close as brothers. Tommy, a delicate black boy, is cursed with health problems and drawn to trouble more often than not. Eric is a Nordic Adonis, graced by a seemingly endless supply of good fortune. When tragedy rips their makeshift family apart, the two boys are set on courses that diverge astonishingly. In a riveting tale of resilience and redemption that traces their parallel lives, Tommy and Eric ultimately reunite after years apart and draw on their childhood bond as they confront together the forces that threaten to destroy them.
White Los Angeles heart surgeon Minas Nolan, a very recent widower, meets African-American flower-shop employee Branwyn Beerman when her son Thomas is born prematurely with a hole in his lung, and without a father in his life. Minas has a son, Eric, a week younger than Tommy, and the four, along with enigmatic Vietnamese nanny Ahn, soon form a loving m nage. Following Branwyn's sudden death 50 pages later, Tommy, now six, is plunged into a hardscrabble life when his difficult father, Elton, claims him; he grows up without resentment, talking aloud to Branwyn when he's sad or confused (and sometimes to Elton's on-again, off-again partner, May), but ends up on the streets. Eric, meanwhile, sails through childhood and adolescence, but remains alienated, constantly missing "his brother," even having a child at 16 with Christine, who's a few years older. Knowingly drawing on the genre constraints that drive his Easy Rawlins mysteries, Mosley puts Thomas through trial after trial, and Eric through a kind of chronic heartlessness. Both continually refer to the time they lived together, and each thinks of the other as a real brother. After more than 10 years of separation, they're reunited, but that's not the point: with the lightest, slyest of touches, Mosley shows how a certain kind of inarticulate, carnal, involuntary affection transcends just about anything. It's not love, it's fate, and it's breathtaking. (Apr. 10) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.