Review: The Sisters Brothers – Patrick DeWitt

The Sisters Brothers Patrick deWitt, a young writer whose “stop-you-in-your-tracks writing has snuck up on the world” (Los Angeles Times), brings us The Sisters Brothers, a darkly comic, outrageously inventive novel that offers readers a decidedly off-center view of the Wild, Wild West. Set against the back-drop of the great California Gold Rush, this odd and wonderful tour de force at once honors and reshapes the traditional western while chronicling the picaresque misadventures of two hired guns, the fabled Sisters brothers. The most original western since the Coen Brothers re-interpreted True Grit—you’ve never met anyone quite like The Sisters Brothers.

I’ve never read a Western before reading this one. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this novel, but since it won a Governor General’s award, I figured it would be good. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did.

The best part about this novel and what drew me to it the most was the writing. I can’t really explain why the writing style drew me in so much. I felt like Patrick DeWitt just said some truths about the world in a really poetic way.

Eli Sisters, the narrator, was such a sympathetic character even though he was technically a hired killer. His relationship with his brother Charlie was extremely complex, just like the relationship between any two siblings.

I was expecting more to happen in terms of the plot, and while the story was interesting, quite atmospheric, and managed to hold my interest, it was more about the relationship between two brothers and the questions about morality and what it means to do the right thing.

I was pleasantly surprised by this novel and be picking up Patrick DeWitt’s other books as well.



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