The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt (2011)
Summary: Hermann Kermit Warm is going to die, and hired guns 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 goldmining claim outside Sacramento, Eli begins to question what he does for a living—and whom he does it for.
I first heard of this book on Books on the Nightstand (starts around the 26 minute mark) and it sounded really interesting and unique, two things that always catch my attention. Plus the cover is not only visually appealing, but nicely reflects the nature of the book. So I finally got around to reading it and it was a very satisfying experience.
I read it on the Kindle and the chapters were so short that it felt like I flew through it. The adventures the Sisters brothers go on while heading to California is so fun and it’s almost like watching a movie. You never know what’s going to happen, where they’ll end up, or what kind of people they’ll come across. What really stood out was the writing. The author writes things so visually and uses such graphic language that everything comes to life on the page.
While there is some violence, it wasn’t just that which came across as graphic. Some things I found myself cringing at because I felt I could see, taste, or smell them. But I still wanted to keep reading and find out what happened with the people, especially Eli. He was a great character, so honest and perceptive. As the summary indicates, he begins questioning his life and his behavior. Basically he’s a hired gun and kills people for money. At one point, he comments, “What would the world be, I thought, without money hung around our necks, hung around our very souls?”
Overall I really enjoyed this book because it was well written, interesting, easy to read, and packed a huge punch on top of all that. Westerns don’t seem to be that popular as there are few new films or books in the genre. I’d be interested to read some more as the only one in recent memory was True Grit last year. Can you recommend any? And what did you think of The Sisters Brothers?
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