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The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
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The Sisters Brothers (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Patrick deWitt

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,035None3,267 (3.87)1 / 509
Member:relah
Title:The Sisters Brothers
Authors:Patrick deWitt
Info:Ecco (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:2012

Work details

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt (2011)

19th century (27) 2011 (21) 2012 (45) 2013 (20) book club (18) booker prize shortlist (25) brothers (62) California (60) Canadian (36) Canadian author (16) Canadian fiction (17) Canadian literature (22) ebook (37) family (17) fiction (288) gold rush (75) historical (17) historical fiction (88) humor (47) Kindle (34) murder (21) novel (32) Oregon (31) read (35) read in 2011 (31) read in 2012 (32) to-read (82) unread (15) USA (21) western (230)
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English (184)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (189)
Showing 1-5 of 184 (next | show all)
Eli and Charlie Sisters are killers. Hired gun killers. It's 1851, Oregon City and the brothers are hired by the Commodore to kill a man who concocted a formula to make gold glow in the rivers for an easy strike. Their mission is to travel to California, San Francisco to be precise, to kill Hermann Kermit Warm and steal the formula. Their travels are long and dark and sometimes comedic. Most of the book, narrated by Eli Sisters, is about their adventures during their travels and the characters they meet on the way but they finally do reach San Francisco and they do find Hermann Kermit Warm. But things have changed for the Sisters Brothers along the way and the ending takes a twisted turn that is not to be expected.

I found the book to be a little too dark and maybe a little descriptive however I was hooked early on and it became a quick read. Mr. Dewitt is a fantastic story teller with a smooth flow of words that I can appreciate. Plus I just like Westerns. Always have. I'm a huge fan of Larry McMurtry but I wouldn't exactly compare the Sisters Brothers to anything by McMurtry but more so like maybe a Charles Frazier novel such as Cold Mountain. Seducing, riveting, grotesque, and funny all at the same time. I can't wait for more from Patrick Dewitt!

Published in 2011 by Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publisher and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize Also published in paperback in 2012. ( )
  clayhollow | Apr 8, 2014 |
Inital reaction to this was curiosity. I’d seen various recommendations for it, it had won various awards and was shortlisted for a Booker Prize in 2011. It’s a western, not something I’ve really read before. The story is narrated by Eli Sisters, who along with his brother Charlie is a professional killer. There is a lot of violence in the book, and plenty of gory descriptions. Eli seems to swing between wanting to give up the life of a killer and settle down to be a shopkeeper and relishing acts of violence and killing (including stamping on the skull of an already dead man until it can no longer be identified). A number of reviews that I read before embarking on this described it as humorous – it didn’t often hit my type of humor. In all, it’s not a bad book but not really to my taste. ( )
  Peace2 | Mar 23, 2014 |
This is a story about two hit-men brothers and their adventures when travelling to gold-obsessed California to do what can possibly turn into their last job together. Really enjoyable book written in a western style, great story with great, intriguing characters. Thought it read well from the very first pages till last ones. Genuinely couldn't put the book away at times, well-deserving of all the award nominations and all the praise. ( )
  justine28 | Mar 8, 2014 |
A great yarn, certainly pulls you along, but fairly vapid in terms of deep characterization. Reminds me of a well-paced video game. The ending just sort of peters out and you can see the conclusion coming for a good 100 pages. Still, it was engrossing and highly entertaining. Reminded me a bit of Wells Tower in the prose, but without the emotional impact (although Wells has a tendency for going over-sentimental in a New Yorker kind of way).

I found the whole use of alchemy to find gold pretty lame, and saw the poisonous outcome as pretty obvious. six months later, I can barely remember the end of the book, which sort of makes sense, since I found the book to really lose its power when the Brothers find Warm.Then I remember that Charlie loses his gunhand in the acid (oh the symbolism!) and they kill the Commodore in some tricksy manner.


7/10 ( )
  blanderson | Mar 4, 2014 |
This book was cinematic, vibrant and extremely fun. There is a live-wire energy running through the book, from plot to characters. I read it before bed several nights in a row and as a result my dreams were filled with the same energy, vividness and humor so, thanks for that, Mr. deWitt. ( )
  Tinamonster | Feb 14, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 184 (next | show all)
Sometimes, a novel is like a train: the first chapter is a comfortable seat in an attractive carriage,and the narrative speeds up. But there are other sorts of trains, and other sorts of novels. They rush by in the dark; passengers framed in the lighted windows are smiling and enjoying themselves. You aren't a passenger, you don't care about that destination, and the whole train rumbles on without you.
added by geocroc | editThe Guardian, Jane Smiley (Jul 15, 2011)
 
Much has been made, over the last few decades, about the death of the western as a genre. All this talk, however, seems to overlook a single, crucial point: the western was never just a genre....DeWitt not only plays the western straight, he draws from the best. Written with the parsed force of the best of Elmore Leonard, DeWitt’s closest CanLit antecedent seems to be Michael Ondaatje’s The Collected Works of Billy the Kid. The influence comes through not only in his attention to every word, every detail, but also in the deadpan, unflinching depiction of violence, reality elevated almost to the level of ridiculousness...Despite being deliberately and effectively part of a tradition (one can imagine it being written and read a hundred years ago, with a few caveats), The Sisters Brothers is a bold, original and powerfully compelling work, grounded in well-drawn characters and a firm hold on narrative. When they say “They don’t write em like that anymore,” they’re wrong.
 
There never was a more engaging pair of psychopaths than Charlie and Eli Sisters, two brothers who kill for hire—and for necessity, and sometimes for the pure, amusing hell of it....So subtle is DeWitt’s prose, so slyly note-perfect his rendition of Eli’s voice in all its earnestly charming 19th-century syntax, and so compulsively readable his bleakly funny western noir story, that readers will stick by Eli even as he grinds his heel into the shattered skull of an already dead prospector.
 
Because rather than concerning himself with showboating his period-specific research, deWitt has deliberately flouted the rules of straight-laced historical realism here, to stunning effect. And most importantly, what he does get right are the flawed and jagged hearts of his characters, which is all the real this reviewer needs....What Western is real anyway? Aren’t they all revisions and stylizations of the past? From the kindergarten morals and the ridiculous bloodlessness of Hollywood Westerns, to Louis L’Amour’s pat Harlequin Romances for men, to the populist machismo of spaghetti Westerns and their impossibly slow gun duels, the genre has never registered very high on the reality scale.....The overall effect is fresh, hilariously anti-heroic, often genuinely chilling, and relentlessly compelling. Yes, this is a mighty fine read, and deWitt a mighty fine writer.
 
Nothing in Patrick deWitt’s first novel, Ablutions, a laconic barfly’s lament for a dysfunctional life, could prepare you for his second, a triumphantly dark, comic anti-western; apart, that is, from the same devastating sense of confidence and glittering prose. ...The writing is superb, with each brief chapter a separate tale in itself, relayed in Eli’s aphoristic fashion. The scope is both cinematic and schematic, with a swaggering, poetic feel reminiscent of a Bob Dylan lyric, while the author retains gleefully taut control of the overall structure. ...
 

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patrick deWittprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chong, Suet YeeDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stiles, DanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Voor mijn moeder
For my mother
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I was sitting outside the Commodore's mansion, waiting for my brother Charlie to come out with news of the job.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
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 Sacremento, Eli begins to question what he does-and whom he does it for. With The Brothers Sisters, 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, 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. (ARC)
Haiku summary
The Sisters brothers?
Guns for hire, but Eli
Fancies a job change.
(passion4reading)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062041266, Hardcover)

Shortlisted for the Booker Prize

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:35:43 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

When a frontier baron known as the Commodore orders Charlie and Eli Sisters, his hired gunslingers, to track down and kill a prospector named Herman Kermit Warm, the brothers journey from Oregon to San Francisco, and eventually to Warm's claim in the Sierra foothills, running into a witch, a bear, a dead Indian, a parlor of drunken floozies, and a gang of murderous fur trappers.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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