Monday, June 6, 2011

Review: The Sisters Brothers: A Novel by Patrick DeWitt

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco (April 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062041266
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062041265

Hermann Kermit Warm is going to die. The enigmatic and powerful man known only as the Commodore has ordered it, and his henchmen, Eli and Charlie Sisters, will make sure of it. Though Eli doesn't share his brother's appetite for whiskey and killing, he's never known anything else. But their prey isn't an easy mark, and on the road from Oregon City to Warm's gold-mining claim outside Sacramento, Eli begins to question what he does for a living–and whom he does it for.

With The Sisters Brothers, Patrick deWitt pays homage to the classic Western, transforming it into an unforgettable comic tour de force. Filled with a remarkable cast of characters–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.


"Like an alchemist, deWitt has refined and purified the base metals of black comedy and the western to produce literary gold." --Winnipeg Free Press, May 14, 2011

". . . gory, mesmerizing . . . carries a strong echo of Pulp Fiction . . . seduces us to its characters, and draws us on the strength of deWitt's subtle, nothing-wasted prose." --Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 8, 2011

". . . a witty noir version of Don Quixote . . . hugely entertaining." --Financial Times, May 13, 2011

"Violent, funny and strangely touching, [The Sisters Brothers is] destined for a spot on many best-of-2011 lists." --Edmonton Journal, May 14, 2011

". . . [an] unsettling, compelling and deeply strange picaresque novel." --Independent, May 15, 2011

"[Patrick] DeWitt has produced a genre-bending frontier saga that is exciting, funny, and perhaps unexpectedly, moving." --Publishers Weekly, January 10, 2011 (Starred review)

". . . a lushly voiced picaresque story . . . It's a kind of True Grit told by Tom Waits." --Esquire, May 2011

". . . smooth and seamless, shot through with dark humor . . . as easy to slip into as the old HBO series 'Deadwood.'" --LA Times, May 1, 2011

"I doubt very much I'll read a funnier, more original book than this picaresque, Wild West tale . . . a terrifically spun yarn . . . masterfully strange and wonderful . . ." --Toronto Star, May 8, 2011

"The Sisters Brothers has a cadence and flow to its prose and the reader can almost hear Eli's laconic narration as the pages turn . . . here is a hardcover that practically holds a Colt to your head and growls: read me." --Winnipeg Review, May 11, 2011

". . . fresh, hilariously anti-heroic, often genuinely chilling, and relentlessly compelling. Yes, this is a mighty fine read, and deWitt a mighty fine writer." --National Post, May 27, 2011

“The writing is superb…. The scope is both cinematic and schematic, with a swaggering, poetic feel reminiscent of a Bob Dylan lyric… deWitt has ensured another unforgettable pair [Eli and Charles] their place in fictive lore." --The Telegraph, May 20, 2011

“…weirdly funny, startlingly violent and steeped in sadness…. If Eli and Charles Sisters come after you, brush up your will.” --The Washington Post, May 24, 2011

My Review

I usually don't read westerns but this book is a breath of fresh air.  Very enjoyable read though at times a little raunchy and violent.  It is a tale of two brothers and their relationship.  And it is a realistic depiction of gold rush pioneer California. 

Highly recommend this very untypical but refreshing western.

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