Few people know that Ralph Waldo Emerson had a mentally challenged brother. This deeply moving novel in letters imagines the last year of this brother’s sad but transcendent life as he lives with a farm family in Massachusetts. Emerson’s Brother shows how this brother, Bulkeley, deals in his own way with many of the themes Waldo did, including nature, self-reliance, and love. Writing letters to his brother and friends such as Henry David Thoreau, Bulkeley Emerson aches with the need to express himself, trapped as he is in the prison of his own genetics. Though Bulkeley’s journey toward the end of his life can be agonizing and filled with unfilled longing, there is a quiet acceptance, too, as he nears his time to become part of nature itself.
Softcover, Mercer University Press, 2012