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The Sisters Brothers

by

The Sisters Brothers Cover

 

Awards

The Rooster 2012 Morning News Tournament of Books Winner

Staff Pick

This entertaining and heartbreaking story is told by a fabulous narrator, Eli Sisters. Eli and his brother Charlie are hired killers in late 19th-century Oregon and California, and this is the tale of their final job.
Recommended by Doug C., Powells.com

Where to start with this strange little book? The Sisters Brothers are a pair of killers-for-hire: Charlie, the hard-boiled pragmatist of the pair; Eli, the reluctant, sensitive softy. Assigned their next hit, the pair begins a long and winding journey which leads them in a wildly atypical direction: they befriend their "hit" and events diverge from the normal sordid path. Packed with quirky, dark humor and razor-sharp character studies, The Sisters Brothers presents an unusual treat: a pair of killers with whom you cannot help but sympathize. Just embrace the peculiarity here. Offbeat, idiosyncratic, and odd, this is one novel you won't soon forget.
Recommended by Dianah, Powells.com

Review-A-Day

"Two men in the employ of a man known as the Commodore have been sent to California to kill a prospector.

'It turns out, and I don't know why this is, and have at times wished it were not so, but yes — we had or have an aptitude for killing,' Eli Sisters says, as he explains how he and his brother Charlie found their vocation, for which they are feared far and wide.

These are the title characters in Portland writer Patrick deWitt's new novel, The Sisters Brothers, set in Gold Rush-era 1850s." J. David Santen Jr., The Oregonian (Read the entire Oregonian review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

“A masterful, hilarious picaresque that keeps company with the best of Charles Portis and Mark Twain, The Sisters Brothers is a relentlessly absorbing feat of novelistic art.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Review:

“Both homage to the classic Western and knife thrust to its dark underbelly, this novel has a quirky, deadpan exterior and a hard-beating heart; we come to see how men die and how the brotherly bond shifts but holds.... I was intrigued by page one.” David Wroblewski

Review:

"DeWitt has produced a genre-bending frontier saga that is exciting, funny, and, perhaps unexpectedly, moving." Library Journal

Review:

“DeWitt creates a homage to life in the Wild West but at the same time reveals its brutality.” Wells Tower

Review:

“A gorgeous, wise, riveting work of, among other things, cowboy noir....Honestly, I can’t recall ever being this fond of a pair of psychopaths.” Gil Adamson

Review:

“A bright, brutal revision of the Western, The Sisters Brothers offers an unexpected meditation on life, and on the crucial difference between power and strength.” Kirkus Reviews

Review:

“Patrick deWitt’s narrator — a hired killer with a bad conscience and a melancholy disposition — is a brilliant and memorable creation.” Charles Bock

Review:

"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...the reader is likely to reach the adventure's end in the same shape as Eli: wounded but bettered by the ride." Time Out New York

Review:

"Cinematic, wry and mannered.... Just as much as The Sisters Brothers is about a killing, it's also about the difficulty of holding on to or setting aside all the things a killer has to convince himself of to make his life palatable." Philadelphia City Paper

Review:

"A feast of delights in short punchy chapters.... Deliciously original and rhapsodically funny, this is one novel that ropes you in on page one, and isn't about to ride off into the sunset any time soon." Boston Globe

Review:

"Sharp and wondrous...[a] funny, oddly moving novel." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Review:

"Thrilling...a lushly voiced picaresque story...so richly told, so detailed, that what emerges is a weird circus of existence, all steel shanks and ponies, gut shots and medication poured into the eyeholes of the dying. At some level, this too is a kind of revenge story, marvelously blurry." Esquire

Review:

"By turns hilarious, graphic and meditative, The Sisters Brothers hooked me from page one all the way to 300 — and I could have stayed on for many more." NPR.org

Review:

"The brothers' punchily poetic banter and the book's bracing bursts of violence keep this campfire yarn pulled taut." The Onion AV Club

Review:

"A twisted delight...Familiar, yes, but never not fresh. Also: creepy and sometimes inscrutable, gory with multiple amputations, rollicking and wistful and roundly winning." Austin Chronicle

Review:

"Weirdly funny, startlingly violent and steeped in sadness... It's all rendered irresistible by Eli Sisters, who narrates with a mixture of melancholy and thoughtfulness." Washington Post

Review:

"[A] thrilling, smart and surprisingly touching read...visual and visceral...always compelling and surprising." BookPage

Review:

"A wickedly funny and innovative novel." Roanoke Times

About the Author

Patrick deWitt is the author of the critically acclaimed Ablutions: Notes for a Novel. Born in British Columbia, he has also lived in California, Washington, and Oregon, where he currently resides with his wife and son.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 31 comments:

KK, February 27, 2012 (view all comments by KK)
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Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(5 of 20 readers found this comment helpful)
Niki, January 23, 2012 (view all comments by Niki)
Did you like True Grit? If you did, then you will be blown away by this wryly funny noir western. The book follows Charlie and Eli Sisters (the notorious hired-gun team known as the Sisters Brothers) as they make their way from the Oregon Territory into San Francisco for a job. Hijinks ensue.

They are men of few words, but, O, what words they are. The voice from our narrator Eli is so singular and fresh, that his musings (be they internal or ex-) inspire re-re-re-reading. The situations and story, too, are cinematic. Rich in detail and well-plotted, the book moves along at a steady clip.

Best book of the year!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(5 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)
maggs, January 19, 2012 (view all comments by maggs)
A page-turner with such a fresh and original voice that you find yourself gunning for these outlaws, right down to the last, satisfying twist.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(4 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 31 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780062041265
Author:
deWitt, Patrick
Publisher:
Ecco Press
Author:
DeWitt, Patrick
Author:
Willems, Mo
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Humorous Stories
Subject:
Westerns - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20110531
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
6 x 6 in 6.48 oz

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Humor » General
Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » Literature
Featured Titles » Morning News Tournament » Tournament of Books 2012
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Locked Case
Fiction and Poetry » Satire
Fiction and Poetry » Westerns » General

The Sisters Brothers New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$24.99 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Ecco - English 9780062041265 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

This entertaining and heartbreaking story is told by a fabulous narrator, Eli Sisters. Eli and his brother Charlie are hired killers in late 19th-century Oregon and California, and this is the tale of their final job.

"Staff Pick" by ,

Where to start with this strange little book? The Sisters Brothers are a pair of killers-for-hire: Charlie, the hard-boiled pragmatist of the pair; Eli, the reluctant, sensitive softy. Assigned their next hit, the pair begins a long and winding journey which leads them in a wildly atypical direction: they befriend their "hit" and events diverge from the normal sordid path. Packed with quirky, dark humor and razor-sharp character studies, The Sisters Brothers presents an unusual treat: a pair of killers with whom you cannot help but sympathize. Just embrace the peculiarity here. Offbeat, idiosyncratic, and odd, this is one novel you won't soon forget.

"Review A Day" by , "Two men in the employ of a man known as the Commodore have been sent to California to kill a prospector.

'It turns out, and I don't know why this is, and have at times wished it were not so, but yes — we had or have an aptitude for killing,' Eli Sisters says, as he explains how he and his brother Charlie found their vocation, for which they are feared far and wide.

These are the title characters in Portland writer Patrick deWitt's new novel, The Sisters Brothers, set in Gold Rush-era 1850s." (Read the entire Oregonian review)
"Review" by , “A masterful, hilarious picaresque that keeps company with the best of Charles Portis and Mark Twain, The Sisters Brothers is a relentlessly absorbing feat of novelistic art.” (starred review)
"Review" by , “Both homage to the classic Western and knife thrust to its dark underbelly, this novel has a quirky, deadpan exterior and a hard-beating heart; we come to see how men die and how the brotherly bond shifts but holds.... I was intrigued by page one.”
"Review" by , "DeWitt has produced a genre-bending frontier saga that is exciting, funny, and, perhaps unexpectedly, moving."
"Review" by , “DeWitt creates a homage to life in the Wild West but at the same time reveals its brutality.”
"Review" by , “A gorgeous, wise, riveting work of, among other things, cowboy noir....Honestly, I can’t recall ever being this fond of a pair of psychopaths.”
"Review" by , “A bright, brutal revision of the Western, The Sisters Brothers offers an unexpected meditation on life, and on the crucial difference between power and strength.”
"Review" by , “Patrick deWitt’s narrator — a hired killer with a bad conscience and a melancholy disposition — is a brilliant and memorable creation.”
"Review" by , "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...the reader is likely to reach the adventure's end in the same shape as Eli: wounded but bettered by the ride."
"Review" by , "Cinematic, wry and mannered.... Just as much as The Sisters Brothers is about a killing, it's also about the difficulty of holding on to or setting aside all the things a killer has to convince himself of to make his life palatable."
"Review" by , "A feast of delights in short punchy chapters.... Deliciously original and rhapsodically funny, this is one novel that ropes you in on page one, and isn't about to ride off into the sunset any time soon."
"Review" by , "Sharp and wondrous...[a] funny, oddly moving novel."
"Review" by , "Thrilling...a lushly voiced picaresque story...so richly told, so detailed, that what emerges is a weird circus of existence, all steel shanks and ponies, gut shots and medication poured into the eyeholes of the dying. At some level, this too is a kind of revenge story, marvelously blurry."
"Review" by , "By turns hilarious, graphic and meditative, The Sisters Brothers hooked me from page one all the way to 300 — and I could have stayed on for many more."
"Review" by , "The brothers' punchily poetic banter and the book's bracing bursts of violence keep this campfire yarn pulled taut."
"Review" by , "A twisted delight...Familiar, yes, but never not fresh. Also: creepy and sometimes inscrutable, gory with multiple amputations, rollicking and wistful and roundly winning."
"Review" by , "Weirdly funny, startlingly violent and steeped in sadness... It's all rendered irresistible by Eli Sisters, who narrates with a mixture of melancholy and thoughtfulness."
"Review" by , "[A] thrilling, smart and surprisingly touching read...visual and visceral...always compelling and surprising."
"Review" by , "A wickedly funny and innovative novel."
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