The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt


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First off, I love the cover art by Dan Stiles!

In The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt, Eli and Charlie Sisters are notorious killers from Oregon working for “The Commodore” as guns for hire. They travel to California during the 1851 gold rush to kill their latest target, Hermann Kermit Warm. These two brothers are as different as night and day. Charlie is a cold-blooded killer who longs for power. Eli is a more sensitive type who would like to settle down to a simpler life. The book is narrated by Eli and his descriptions of random occurrences during their travels symbolize the deep misgivings he is having about his choices in life.

“My very center was beginning to expand, as it did before violence, a toppled pot of black ink covering the frame of my mind, its contents ceaseless, unaccountably limitless. My flesh and scalp started to ring and tingle and I became someone other than myself, or I became my second self, and this person was highly pleased to be stepping from the murk and into the living world where he might do just as he wished. I felt at once both lust and disgrace and wondered, Why do I relish this reversal to animal?”

This book is a violent and darkly funny romp through the old west. It’s s not a book for everyone but it is fresh and different. Although I wasn’t thrilled with the treatment of most of the animals in the book, I did enjoy the story. There were times while I was reading that I pictured a Quentin Tarantino movie. Chances are if you like those, you will like this book.

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