[VIDEO]http://www.amazon.com/Brothers-K-David-James-Duncan/dp/055337849X]Amazon.com: The Brothers K (9780553378498): David James Duncan: Books[/VIDEO]
I just finished this a couple days ago, on my brother's recommendation. Honestly, this is the best book I've picked up for the first time in years - not nearly as pedantic or pretentious as the stuff I generally read, but just very well written, very engrossing, and very human.
It's the story, very loosely echoing Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, about four brothers growing up in the days leading up to the Vietnam era, the sons of a promising major league prospect pitcher who had his career robbed from him by a freak mill accident the offseason before he was supposed to be called up, and of a woman turned increasingly fanatical by her religious beliefs in a world that seems to be moving on, each trying to find a way to come to terms with the world they live in - the oldest as a atheist, anti-war radical, the second through Eastern religion, the third following his Christian beliefs into Vietnam, and the forth, well, sort of as an unbiased observer and chronicler of the stories of the family.
It's an incredibly powerful story - I can't recommend it strongly enough, even to people who don't generally see eye to eye with me on authors (Hi Bob! He's nothing like David Foster Wallace!). I'll be picking up his first novel, The River Why, first chance I get.
I figured I'd be in there somewhere.
Sounds a bit like the terrific Mick Foley novel 'Tietam Brown.' (HIGHLY recommend) meets that movie 'Mystic River.' (Itself a novel first, I believe.)