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The Sisters Brothers (2011)

by Patrick deWitt

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,1343072,723 (3.88)1 / 699
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)
Recently added byprivate library, Nightshelf, booksatasteal, Feudhi, Rini55, jkellner, ProfAronnax
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Group TopicMessagesLast Message 
 Booker Prize: The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt25 unread / 25rudder, September 2013

» See also 699 mentions

English (299)  French (3)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  Danish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (307)
Showing 1-5 of 299 (next | show all)
This was my second reading and more enjoyable than the first when the book was in the throes of publicity hype, which only points to my contrariness. I enjoyed the humour more this time, and appreciated the fine qualities of the good-natured Eli, a generally kind and generous man. His appreciation of the new toothbrush and powder was delightful. However, the contrasting violent scenes keep this from being a sweet, sleep-inducing account. Not only was this a well told story, filled with wonderful characters, but the relationship between the brothers is remarkably complex. Both are hired guns, and while Charlie is belligerent and violent, Eli can pull his weight with a gun yet is understanding of his brother's malevolence. I'm glad I gave this entertaining book a second chance. ( )
  VivienneR | Sep 2, 2023 |
Disappointing -lauded as funny- quirky yes but not funny ( )
  HelenGress | Aug 25, 2023 |
Yet again deWitt's writing is just gorgeous. I could read Eli Sisters soul searchings forever. But then there are those spots in the story where you cringe and scrunch up your face and look away and maybe just skip down the page a wee bit to get past something that is just so horrific you can't hardly look at it.
( )
  beentsy | Aug 12, 2023 |
This book is written in a very tight first person point-of-view. It took me a few chapters to acclimate to this style of writing. Since the chapters are all 2 to 3 minutes long, this wasn't an onerous task.

After I got my bearings, I really enjoyed "Sisters Brothers." The last third of the book takes an odd turn as far as the plot is concerned. Just wanted to give a heads up on that. ( )
  dmtrader | Aug 4, 2023 |
I absolutely loved this book. The parts where animals got hurt were hard for me, very hard, however they were not gratuitous or obscene so I managed them. Even with the animal suffering (usually a deal breaker for me) there is no question that this is a 5 star book. ( )
  blueskygreentrees | Jul 30, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 299 (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.
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.
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.
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 (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patrick deWittprimary authorall editionscalculated
Aronson, EmmanuelleTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Aronson, PhilippeTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chong, Suet YeeDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stiles, DanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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.
We can all of us be hurt, and no one is exclusively safe from worry and sadness.
The creak of bed springs suffering under the weight of a restless man is as lonely a sound as I know.
Here is another miserable mental image I will have to catalog and make room for.
To me, luck was something you either earned or invented through strength of character. You had to come by it honestly; you could not trick or bluff your way into it.
What would the world be, I thought, without money hung around our necks, hung around our very souls?
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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.

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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.

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