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The Sisters Brothers [Paperback]

Patrick Dewitt
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 15 2011
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2011. 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 humour, melancholy, and grit of the Old West and two brothers bound by blood, violence, and love.

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Review

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

. . . fresh, hilariously anti-heroic, often genuinely chilling, and relentlessly compelling. Yes, this is a mighty fine read, and deWitt a mighty fine writer. --National Post

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. -- The Telegraph

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

Most helpful customer reviews
27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not Booker good. Aug. 13 2011
By Paolo TOP 500 REVIEWER
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
3.0 out of 5 stars An Anything Can Happen Western-style Novel Nov. 28 2011
By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
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
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fast Paced and Gripping Read Oct. 23 2011
By lexyvs
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This book did not live up to it's hype. Feb. 5 2012
Format:Paperback
I bought this book because it was a prize winner. I did not see why. The wonder of it eluded me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Blah! Feb. 2 2012
Format:Paperback
The publishers review reads 'Patrick] DeWitt has produced a genre-bending frontier saga that is exciting, funny, and perhaps unexpectedly, moving', however I found this book was not the least bit exciting, rarely funny, hardly moving and yes... unexpected in a weird sort of a way. I am reminded that when a book comes with a long list of awards it is hardly ever a really good read. Some parts of the book were quite gruesome and the rest was mostly just boring. I did finish reading the book, and the last part of the book centered around a rather unique idea (regarding gold prospecting) but it was not a book that I would recommend to anyone.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars The Sisters Brothers
I am in a book club it was the read of the month. Normally I would not have chosen this book. It was interesting and humours in its own funny way. An easy read glad I read it
Published 12 days ago by brenda van wielingen
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it!
This book was such a pleasant surprise from my regular reading. I can totally imagine this as a Quentin Tarantino movie. It was a gripping read with interesting surprises. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Elsie Johnson
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent book
Entertaining at times but ultimately anti-climatic in my personal opinion.
I was hoping for a more interesting plot; makes a quick read.
Published 2 months ago by Juan Carlos Ramos
3.0 out of 5 stars a decent read
Spare writing, good character development, and funny. I'd recommend it, although it does kind of read like a script- I hear the film rights have already been sold.
Published 2 months ago by SLR
3.0 out of 5 stars The cover is the best part
The best thing about this book is the cover. Just look at it - it's fantastic!!
As per the story, it was alright. Not bad but not great. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Rose
4.0 out of 5 stars An off-beat, entertaining Western
In this off-beat Western two brothers, Eli and Charlie Sisters, are hired to kill Herman Kermit Warm, a man who may have stolen money from their ruthless boss, although they don’t... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Gabriel Boutros
2.0 out of 5 stars Did not captivate me.
I found this to be a slow read and I quickly lost interest about half way through. Nothing interesting happens to the main characters and the book does not flow well.
Published 5 months ago by Patricia Cote
5.0 out of 5 stars An Intruiging Read
So far as fliers go, this was a successful one. An interesting story and compelling form of storytelling. Kinda made me think at points as well.
Published 7 months ago by Bryce
2.0 out of 5 stars Waste of paper and ink
Unbelievable characters with few, if any, redeeming qualities,uninteresting story, poor dialogue. Had to struggle to continue and to finish completely.
Published 8 months ago by Malcolm Ratte
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put this one down!
Loved this book! Picked it up to fill an hour or so on a Sunday afternoon and then couldn't put it down. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Lisa Dalrymple
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