The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt (Green)

Book cover of the sisters brothers. The silhouettes of two cowboys with guns and a skull in the background.

This is a good book. (Green) means go and read it.  Exactly what I needed to read after finishing the disappointing Mockingjay.  The title of the book originally turned me off.  I thought it was about transgender brothers or something odd like that.  But because it was nominated for a Giller Prize I read the back and immediately changed my mind.  Now I think the title is awesome.

It’s about two brothers with the last name Sisters.  Cool, eh?

Not cool enough?  It’s about to cowboys who are also hitmen who happened to have the last name Sisters.  You want to read it now don’t you?

This is a book about two bad guys doing bad things.  Normally I hate stories like this.  For some reason in stories like this the story teller always wants me to feel bad for the protagonist but I usually don’t.  Why should I feel bad for bad people doing bad things?  It’s a tricky thing to write.

It works in this story because it’s told through the most sympathetic character, Eli Sisters.  Yeah he kills people for a living but as the story gets going he starts to realize that isn’t the best thing for him to be doing.  He starts to look for something better in life, a new job, falling in love, and things like that.  This is all going on as The Sisters brothers travel from Oregon City to San Francisco to kill some prospector for their boss.  It’s a solid story.

The best thing about this book is it’s written the way they talked back then.  It feels real.  If they were to make it into a movie it would be like True Grit.  That’s the way they talk in this book.  If you read for long enough you start to think the way they talk in the book. Talking like a cowboy is fun; everyone loves to talk like a cowboy.

The way the story unfolds with Eli Sisters wanting to stop his murdering ways and his brother Charlie not being interested at all in that line of thinking you think you know where the story is going.  But you’re wrong.  The whole time I’m waiting for the inevitable  brother vs. brother climax but the author, Patrick deWitt, is smarter than that.  That’s not the climax of the story.  I wont give anything away but it didn’t end out the way I thought it would and I wasn’t disappointed.  The easy way is never taken.

This book also features my new favourite horse.  Tubb.  He’s Eli’s mostly broken horse.  If you’re wondering the one at the top of my horse list before this was Bill the pony (extra points if you know what book he’s from).  The horse at the bottom of my list is that cartoon horse from that movie The Road to Eldorado.

This is a violent, funny, and exciting book.  If you need a solid read then you should check this book out.

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2 Responses to The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt (Green)

  1. David says:

    Excellent book – I’m with you on that one! And like you it made me think of the movie True Grit, of which I’m also a fan. Great minds…!

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