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Sisters Brothers /tpf Paperback – Oct 15 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: House of Anansi Press (Oct. 15 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1770890327
  • ISBN-13: 978-1770890329
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.2 x 23.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #13,875 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

[Patrick] DeWitt has produced a genre-bending frontier saga that is exciting, funny, and perhaps unexpectedly, moving. (Publishers Weekly 2011-01-10)

. . . a lushly voiced picaresque story . . . It's a kind of True Grit told by Tom Waits. (Tom Chiarella Esquire 2011-05-01)

. . . smooth and seamless, shot through with dark humor . . . as easy to slip into as the old HBO series 'Deadwood.' (Carolyn Kellogg LA Times 2011-05-01)

I doubt very much I'll read a funnier, more original book than this picaresque, Wild West tale . . . a terrifically spun yarn . . . masterfully strange and wonderful . . . (Emily Donaldon Toronto Star 2011-05-08)

. . . cinematic, wry and mannered . . . DeWitt['s] ability to distill an image with a couple of well-chosen words and the precision and intensity of his language gives [The] Sisters [Brothers] a dreamlike aura. (Justin Bauer Philadelphia City Paper 2011-05-05)

. . . imaginative and ebullient . . . revels in the hilarious life and times of two gunslingers, Eli and Charlie Sisters. (Caroline Leavitt Boston Globe 2011-05-08)

. . . gory, mesmerizing . . . carries a strong echo of Pulp Fiction . . . seduces us to its characters, and draws us on the strength of deWitt's subtle, nothing-wasted prose. (Karen R. Long Cleveland Plain Dealer 2011-05-08)

. . . a witty noir version of Don Quixote . . . hugely entertaining. (Stella Tillyard Financial Times 2011-05-13)

Violent, funny and strangely touching, [The Sisters Brothers is] destined for a spot on many best-of-2011 lists. (Richard Helm Edmonton Journal 2011-05-14)

. . . [an] unsettling, compelling and deeply strange picaresque novel. (Jake Wallis Simons Independent 2011-05-15)

. . . spirited and often humorous . . . Patrick deWitt's picaresque narrative works with a wink and a nod of reverence, squaring with recent revivals of the Western in popular culture, namely HBO's Deadwood. (J. David Santen Jr. Oregonian 2011-05-14)

The Sisters Brothers has a cadence and flow to its prose and the reader can almost hear Eli's laconic narration as the pages turn . . . here is a hardcover that practically holds a Colt to your head and growls: read me. (Chadwick Ginther Winnipeg Review 2011-05-11)

The Sisters Brothers is a bloody, nightmarish frontier road trip that seems at times like something out of Cormac McCarthy, yet somehow merges laughter and hope with suffering, death and betrayal. [...] Like an alchemist, deWitt has refined and purified the base metals of black comedy and the western to produce literary gold. (Bob Armstrong Winnipeg Free Press 2011-05-14)

DeWitt has invigorated [the] well-worn path [of the classic Western] with wit, style, and imagination. (Jenny Shank New West 2011-05-16)

. . . wryly comic, heartbreakingly sentimental, and immensely likable . . . (Georgia Straight 2011-05-17)

. . . edgy and unyielding . . . The Sisters Brothers gives readers a sense of adventure without ever having to stare down the barrel of a gun. (Kacy Muir Weekender 2011-05-18)

There is something irresistibly cinematic about this quirky tale, a Coen brothers-style strangeness that paradoxically celebrates an unlikely humanity. (Margaret Gunning Edmonton Journal 2011-05-21)

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. (Brian Bethune Maclean's 2011-05-19)

. . . original, entrancing and entertaining . . . (Robin Vidimos Denver Post 2011-05-22)

In The Sisters Brothers, a diabolical combination of Laurel and Hardy and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (with a touch of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, just to emphasise the high literary stakes) deWitt has ensured another unforgettable pair their place in fictive lore. (Catherine Taylor Telegraph 2011-05-20)

[Patrick deWitt] frequently crosses into comic territory to produce a story that's weirdly funny, startlingly violent and steeped in sadness. (Ron Charles Washington Post 2011-05-24)

. . . darkly hilarious . . . riveting . . . deWitt welcomingly reimagines the [Western] genre. (Joel Aurora ZYZZYVA 2011-05-12)

Wandering his Western landscape with the cool confidence of a practiced pistoleer, deWitt's steady hand belies a hair trigger, a poet's heart and an acute sense of gallows humor . . . It's easy to imagine John C. Reilly - who is set to star in the film version of the book - lumbering through this breezy, pitch-black comedy's cinematic scenes. (Matthew Love Time Out New York 2011-05-18)

. . . fresh, hilariously anti-heroic, often genuinely chilling, and relentlessly compelling. Yes, this is a mighty fine read, and deWitt a mighty fine writer. (Michael Christie National Post 2011-05-26)

. . . hilarious, dark, twisted and compelling. (Dina Del Bucchia Canada Arts Connect Magazine 2011-06-10)

Bursting with vitality and driven along by a terrific pulpy energy, The Sisters Brothers is the kind of book you may well end up wholeheartedly recommending to friends. (Alastair Mabbott Herald Scotland 2011-06-06)

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. (Robert Wiersema Globe and Mail 2011-06-24)

. . . comic . . . engaging . . . the brothers' poetic banter and the book’s bracing bursts of violence keep this campfire yarn pulled taut. (Christian Williams Onion AV Club 2011-06-23)

. . . a book that’s both a heck of a lot of fun to read and surprisingly compelling when it ends -- one that both your hipster brother and your straight-arrow dad will get a kick out of. (Rob Thomas Wisconsin Capital-Times 2011-06-30)

Patrick deWitt has written an Old West tale that conjures up the colourful images of a spaghetti western filled with stark realism, eccentric characters and black humour . . . If you’re looking for an unforgettable western, grab this one. (Judee Fong Monday Magazine 2011-07-06)

America seems anything but beautiful in Patrick DeWitt’s quirky and ultimately touching new novel The Sisters Brothers. (Steve Whitton Anniston Star 2011-07-08)

[Patrick deWitt] has taken the typical saga and, with laser-sharp prose, masterful storytelling, and an eccentrically perfect combination of humor, violence, lust, and pathos, has turned it completely upside-down. Never has the Old West seemed so simultaneously and page-turningly beautiful, tragic, and comedic, or a cowboy so delightfully neurotic. (Kathleen Brazie Charlotte Viewpoint 2011-07-06)

. . . gritty . . . deadpan . . . very comedic . . . opens new doors in the imagination. (John Vernon New York Times Book Review 2011-07-24)

Fully invested, DeWitt is a hilarious, wry wordsmith and a masterful storyteller. The Sisters Brothers, with its sharp edges and instinctive compassion, is far from historical displacement or genre escapism. It is art worthy of the status, regardless of context or -ism. (Katia Grubisic Rover Arts 2011-07-24)

. . . a darkly comic, compelling and surprising story . . . I doubt I'll find a more entertaining and thoughtful novel this year. (Quentin Mills-Fenn Uptown Winnipeg 2011-08-25)

DeWitt’s inspired, many-layered yarn is as entertaining and as stylistically accomplished as it is unsettling and most original in its revisiting of what remains a glorious genre. (Eileen Battersby Irish Times 2011-09-17)

... sheer brilliance ... (Laurie Grassi Chatelaine 2011-10-30)

From the Back Cover

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.


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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Paolo TOP 1000 REVIEWER on Aug. 13 2011
Format: Hardcover
Set in 1851 right in the middle of the California gold rush, the novel tells the story of two infamous brothers Charlie and Eli Sisters who set out on a mission by the commodore from Oregon City to apprehend and kill Hermann Kermit Warm.

The chapters are short and the pace is brisk as the brothers drink, swear, trick and shoot their way west in pursuit of their quarry encountering a witch, an orphan and a prospector gone mad in the solitude of his work.

The narration of Eli Sisters is in a evocative cowboy patter and the description of the fairly frequent violence is vivid the effect being to put you in the saddle as they slaughter their way across the west toward California but it's not for the feint-hearted.

It's an entertaining yarn, the relationship between the younger Eli and the elder Charlie is an intelligent mix of admiration, jealousy and competition and the vivid prose is a real highlight. It is very light reading and I went through it in a couple of days without really trying. My judgement is that it's good but not booker good and I can't see this one getting through to the longlist.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Nov. 28 2011
Format: Paperback
This is one of the strangest and wildest novels I have ever read. With all its twists and turns and bizarre outcomes, I don't know how to classify it other than to call it a modern spoof about the legendary West, encased in an anything-goes, cowboy style. While one part of me finds the adventures of two hell-raising brothers bent on doing their thing as hired guns a compelling and a sometimes amusing read, another part takes issue at the often awkward and loose way in which they are told. The account of Eli and Charles as gun-touting, adventure-seeking hitmen doing the bidding of a local `mafia' boss comes with plenty of peculiarities that make it fast-paced, unpredictable and something larger than life. One, complicating the lives of these two murderous bounty-hunters is that Eli and Charles are brothers who really care for each other, a quality that one doesn't generally associate with contract killers. Two, their quest appears to be a never-ending journey into the wilds of the Oregon Territory to kill someone they have never met. The reader will take three-quarters of the book to discover who their quarry really is. Three, along the way, obstacles will emerge that require both ingenuity and good fortune to overcome and stay the course. Four, in the end, our two gunslingers will accomplish their mission only to realize that the venture has been so much more than originally anticipated. Decent men and women have been killed; trust has been broken; and life has virtually been taken to the edge. On all these points, deWitt has done a reasonable job in composing a readable novel. But, in creating this torrid-paced, thriller of a novel, the author may have taken some significant literary short-cuts to get art to imitate life.Read more ›
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful By lexyvs on Oct. 23 2011
Format: Hardcover
The Sisters Brothers is the story of Charlie and Eli Sisters, two brothers who work as hired guns for a man know only as The Commodore during the California gold rush. Now, if you’re not a fan of westerns, don’t let that stop you from giving The Sisters Brothers a read. I’m not a western fan, I mean I like Young Guns and after much convincing to actually watch it, I loved HBO’s Deadwood, but as a rule I shy away from them. Despite being a western with a set timeline, The Sisters Brothers has a timeless feel to it (as Carey pointed out in the Read With Me discussion). The characters are interesting and relate-able, but not always (or even often in the case of Charlie) likable, which I think adds to the realism of book and is what makes Charlie and Eli really well rounded characters.
Patrick DeWitt has a genuine talent for painting pictures with words. In fact, I found that the whole book read like a movie, as if I could really picture how everything would happen on screen as I was reading. I’m not sure if it would read like that for everyone, or if I had the idea of The Sisters Brothers as a movie on the brain as I was reading. Just before I read the book I found out that the film rights were purchased by John C. Rielly’s production company. The chapters in The Sisters Brothers are really short and the story is fast paced, which makes for a pretty fast read. If you’re looking for an interesting, well researched and compassionate book, The Sisters Brothers is for you! I highly recommend giving it a read, and, if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to read it before the movie comes out.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book. It was very quirky compared to what I'm used to.
The story follows two scary brothers who are murderers for hire (and thieves), and their misadventures in the Old West during the gold rush.
The chapters were short which I like, because I only read before falling asleep and I could go to bed planning on reading one or two chapters and be satisfied.
I never wanted this story to end. I was sad as I neared it's end, because I so looked forward to picking up where I left off; and following the adventures of the Sisters Brothers, every night!
At times you wonder where the story is heading, but I think if you enjoy just taking in details and enjoying the ride, wherever it takes you; you will be very satisfied.
One page could make me want to cry, the next would have me laughing out loud. If you love animals then you will become very sad or upset, indeed; reading numerous passages. These parts really got to me but I soldiered on. What quickly became apparent in this story is that life as the brothers saw it was; short, brutish, and unfair. So grab onto what you want, when you want it, using every means at your disposal.
So these brothers did not feel much empathy for a fellow human being-let alone their animals. Horses, mules and donkeys only existed to serve as beasts of burden, or for transportation.
There were numerous accounts of brutality among the characters. I don't recommend snacking during certain paragraphs! There were some pretty scary examples of medical, dental and animal husbandry procedures along the way, too.
The theme of the story is family ties and blood are everything and no one else matters unless they are of use to you; make as much money at any cost. This is survival of the fittest. There is no justice.
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