Book Reviews

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt

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List Price: £6.99


Paperback: 336 Pages.

Published: 27 October 2011 by Granta Books

ISBN: 9781847086006

EAN: 9781847086006

Hermann Kermit Warm is going to die. Across 1000 miles of Oregon desert his assassins, the notorious Eli and Charlies 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.


2.0 Stars2.0 Stars  by Anne

Not one for me

I really didn't get on with this book at all but I understand that it has had considerable success and I have heard and seen glowing reviews. I can only conclude that the book is one of those which some people enjoy a lot and others don't get at all. I place myself firmly in the latter camp. I have also seen this book described as darkly funny but it raised no smile from me at any point.

The story is set in the 1850s and concerns two brothers (whose surname is Sister and thus we get the title). They live in the American West and are guns for hire committing murder and other similar acts as part of their job. Charlie Sister is a psychopath enjoying mayhem and murder and killing almost without thought. His brother Eli, who narrates the book, is beginning to want out of the lifestyle but he also commits heinous acts with no second thoughts. The story follows the brothers as they search for a man they have been employed to kill. As they travel across the American West they encounter all manner of people most of whom are a lot worse off after the encounter. Eli tries in an inept way to look at how he could build a life away from murder and tries to attract a woman and build up some savings but nothing works for him. Everyone they meet seems venal and desperate and the ending sort of fizzles out.

It is impossible to like or admire any of the characters in this book. The situations which arise are far fetched and unrealistic. I am not really sure what the author was trying to say. I failed to engage with the story or the characters. I don't know whether it was the author who failed or me as a reader or whether this book just wasn't a good match for me but I really didn't get it.

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