James D(ouglas) Forman Jean C. Thomson - Essay

Jean C. Thomson

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

There is no formal exposition or denouement for this moving story of an exodus of Jews [My Enemy, My Brother]…. After settling on a kibbutz, Dan becomes a shepherd, and forms a deep friendship with an Arab shepherd, Said, even saving his life during a flash flood. The novel abruptly comes to an end after the official independence of Israel is declared, with both Dan and Said preparing for war, in opposite camps. This jarring lack of resolution can only be a deliberate, stylistic gesture, a dramatization of the still unresolved, very live Arab/Israeli conflict. Like Forman's other more highly developed novels—[Horses of Anger and Ring the Judas Bell] …—this is powerful prose, replete with provocative metaphors, rich imagery, and an apparent but unobtrusive message on peace and the evils of war. The author's fans will understand and accept the unfinished coda to the novel; the uninitiated may feel cheated at the lack of neat plot resolution, but the mark James Forman's story-telling leaves on them is nevertheless likely to last.

Jean C. Thomson, "Junior High Up: 'My Enemy, My Brother'," in School Library Journal, an appendix to Library Journal (reprinted from the May, 1969 issue of School Library Journal, published by R. R. Bowker Co./A Xerox Corporation; copyright © 1969), Vol. 15, No. 9, May, 1969, p. 98.