The Brothers M

The 'levels' on which The Brothers M is written may best be divided as follows:

It is most obviously a psychological and physical drama of a very unrelenting kind. Two young men meet at Oxford and strike a friendship. They are unusual individuals: Bob McNair, Canadian Rhodes scholar, a rather lonely, clever, self-driving fellow of deep honest of intention but clumsy in execution; Daudi Mukasa, a negro  African colonial scholar, brilliantly intuitive, erratic, attractive to women, popular, yet - haunted. one element in Daudi's strange insecurity is connected with his 'uncapturable memory' of his tribal background. Though he was brought up infused with Western ideas and methods among his father's advanced people, the Baganda, in modern Kampala, chief city of Uganda, his mother came from the primitive Bakonzo of the Ruwenzori mountains, a 'pure' African tribe, virtually untouched by the hand of civilisation.

Various elements soon begin to affect the two friends decisively: their assessment, as newcomers, of European civilisation, their individual alliances with women, their struggle to find themselves and make sense of life. But, above all, their own relationship becomes critical to each, for they are shortly thrown together inescapably on a journey to the remote Ruwenzori mountains. Their surface object is to find the twin sister of Daudi's mother, who died when he was a boy. Yet to each the journey becomes far more. At this point the Bakonzo rise begins to pay a vital role in the mind of each.

The book is, therefore, secondly an inexorably penetrating study of the 'race question', undertaken from an approach unique in literature.

Yet, thirdly, the basis and ultimate object of this book lies in the fervent inspection of the reality of life, and of how the meaning of life may be sought. Each of the main characters is caught up, voluntarily and involuntarily, in the search for this reality  and meaning. The approach of each is diametrically opposed, objective and subjective. Herein is the source of tremendous conflict; and their relationship becomes increasingly involved in the view of each of himself and existence, until it bursts them catastrophically apart.