SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING JAKE GYLLENHAAL, JOHN C. REILLY AND JOAQUIN PHOENIX
A BOOKER PRIZE FINALIST
AND A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: Publishers Weekly • Amazon • Hudson Booksellers • Washington Post
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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Set during the gold rush, Patrick deWitt’s colorfully rambling tale is a dark and unusually playful take on the western. Mixing old-timey formality with unguarded emotional intimacy, deWitt tells the story of natural-born killers Eli and Charlie Sisters. Younger brother Eli narrates; he’s a casually brutal man struggling to reconcile his developing sense of humanity with an unpredictable, lawless universe.The Sisters Brothers takes us on an unexpectedly entertaining journey that’s packed with oddball encounters, deadpan dialog, acidic sibling rivalry, and violent visuals. No wonder Hollywood was eager to bring these gun-toting brothers to the screen.
Dewitt's bang-up second novel (after Ablutions) is a quirky and stylish revisionist western. 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. Eli's deadpan narration is at times strangely funny (as when he discovers dental hygiene, thanks to a frontier dentist dispensing free samples of "tooth powder that produced a minty foam") but maintains the power to stir heartbreak, as with Eli's infatuation with a consumptive hotel bookkeeper. As more of the brothers' story is teased out, Charlie and Eli explore the human implications of many of the clich s of the old west and come off looking less and less like killers and more like traumatized young men. With nods to Charles Portis and Frank Norris, DeWitt has produced a genre-bending frontier saga that is exciting, funny, and, perhaps unexpectedly, moving.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A Surprisingly Warm Comedy About.. Killers
This is the kind of book which, if read by the Coen Brothers, would cause them to proclaim "Here is our next movie!"
Eli and Charlie Sisters are assassins. They murder a number of people throughout this book. And yet you leave the book with a surprising amount of compassion for them.
Highly recommended for those who enjoy dark (and occasionally violent) comedies.
The writer is brilliant. His use of language was so authentic and appropriate for the time.
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