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

by Patrick deWitt

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,2281992,892 (3.86)1 / 546
Member:dbeckman
Title:The Sisters Brothers
Authors:Patrick deWitt
Info:Ecco (2011), Edition: Reprint, Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Read but unowned, Kindle
Rating:***
Tags:None

Work details

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt (2011)

  1. 60
    No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy (derelicious)
  2. 40
    True Grit by Charles Portis (ShelfMonkey)
  3. 30
    Doc by Mary Doria Russell (Citizenjoyce)
    Citizenjoyce: Gunslingers and philosophy populate both books.
  4. 20
    Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (whymaggiemay)
    whymaggiemay: Both have a wonderful, authentic flavor of the old west.
  5. 10
    Close Range by Annie Proulx (Cecilturtle)
  6. 10
    The Ox-Bow Incident by Walter van Tilburg Clark (ocgreg34)
  7. 10
    The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers by Thomas Mullen (VictoriaPL)
  8. 10
    Streets of Laredo by Larry McMurtry (Limelite)
  9. 10
    Twilight by William Gay (tandah, tandah)
    tandah: Not as dark as 'Twilight' but it is a violent western road trip and both very well written.
  10. 00
    The Whip by Karen Kondazian (Anonymous user)
  11. 00
    Woe to Live On by Daniel Woodrell (alanteder)
  12. 01
    The Antagonist by Lynn Coady (bookwormjules)
    bookwormjules: Part of the 2011 Giller Short-list
  13. 13
    Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan (bookwormjules)
    bookwormjules: Part of the 2011 Giller Prize Short List
  14. 03
    The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon by Tom Spanbauer (Limelite)
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English (194)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (199)
Showing 1-5 of 194 (next | show all)
If I would have known what the book was about before picking it up I may not have started reading it at all. I loved the style and I'm glad I gave it a chance. ( )
  jfoooo | Dec 17, 2014 |
Greatly entertaining Western. Will definitely end up a movie. Best part for me is the gold-panning camp mess, which is a smaller-scale but comparably powerful depiction of the commercial despoliation of the western outdoors as the bison slaughter in Butcher's Crossing. ( )
  AThurman | Dec 7, 2014 |
I didn't make it all the way through this book. Nor will I come back to it. I'm sure for some people it was amazing, but for me it was just very very average. I'm sorry to insult it's author with such faint praise, but in the end I'd be lying to say otherwise. ( )
  wjmcomposer | Nov 5, 2014 |
I didn't make it all the way through this book. Nor will I come back to it. I'm sure for some people it was amazing, but for me it was just very very average. I'm sorry to insult it's author with such faint praise, but in the end I'd be lying to say otherwise. ( )
  wjmcomposer | Nov 5, 2014 |
I read this book as part of my local library book group selections. I thought some of the violence and cruelty was gratuitous and that the plot meandered a bit. I enjoyed Eli's insights into his own nature and his relationship with his horses.
I thought there was nothing redeemable about Charlie. Some parts like the ending with their mother seemed just tacked on for not apparent (to me) reason. ( )
  padmajoy | Oct 4, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 194 (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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Dedication
Voor mijn moeder
For my mother
First words
I was sitting outside the Commodore's mansion, waiting for my brother Charlie to come out with news of the job.
Quotations
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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References to this work on external resources.

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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