Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick Dewitt (4/5)

The back says: Hermann Kermit Warm is going to die. Across 1000 miles of Oregon desert his assassins, the notorious Eli and Charlie Sisters, ride - fighting, shooting, and drinking their way to Sacramento. But their prey isn't an easy mark, the road is long and bloody, and somewhere along the path Eli begins to question what he does for a living - and whom he does it for.

The Sisters Brothers pays homage to the classic Western, transforming it into an unforgettable ribald tour de force. Filled with a remarkable cast of losers, cheaters, and ne'er-do-wells from all stripes of life-and told by a complex and compelling narrator, it is a violent, lustful odyssey through the underworld of the 1850s frontier that beautifully captures the humor, melancholy, and grit of the Old West and two brothers bound by blood, violence, and love.

I say: Last year I kept seeing this cover everywhere without really paying any real attention to it; so when I saw it at the library about a month ago I took it upon myself to find out why it was all over the place. I didn’t read the synopsis before starting to read (I hardly ever do that anymore) and I’m glad I didn’t because it doesn’t sound like anything I usually read.

This is an instance where I’m glad I judged the book by its awesome cover.

First of all, I loved the plot – even though it starts out as your typical Western (my father was obsessed with Western films, so I grew up watching them) – and even though there was quite a bit of violence, it didn’t bother me that much. I think that the thing really made me love this was all the random and borderline absurdity of the plot and characters. Like the crying man they met who may or may not have been of significance, the little girl in the town who was up to no good, and the boy who started following them.

Brilliant ridiculousness.

Another reason I loved this was the two brothers and how different they were. I am not sure if Charlie was some kind of crazy or if he was just a product of his childhood and environment. Maybe a mix of the two, but the dynamic between his readiness to kill and rob and Eli’s compassion is part of what made their journey so interesting.

And exciting.

I really like the way Dewitt writes. It was fast paced, random, clever and very humorous; I laughed out loud several times. It felt nice being in Eli’s headspace (probably since he wasn’t as crazy as his brother); his thoughts and actions felt genuine. The way Dewitt had him describe the scenery and most of the plot came across as authentic and I could see these two brothers riding across the plain in my head as I read it.

I am definitely going to check out more of Dewitt’s work.


  1. This one has been on my radar for some time now. You gave Brothers Sisters a wonderful review so now I just have to give it a read. Thanks.

  2. I bought this book the other week. Look forward to reading it whenever that will be.

  3. I look forward to both of your reviews when you get to it. I love reading how other people percieve books (and other things).