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Starred Review. Dewitt's bang-up second novel (after Ablutions) is a quirky and stylish revisionist western. When a frontier baron known as the Commodore orders Charlie and Eli Sisters, his hired gunslingers, to track down and kill a prospector named Herman Kermit Warm, the brothers journey from Oregon to San Francisco, and eventually to Warm's claim in the Sierra foothills, running into a witch, a bear, a dead Indian, a parlor of drunken floozies, and a gang of murderous fur trappers. Eli's deadpan narration is at times strangely funny (as when he discovers dental hygiene, thanks to a frontier dentist dispensing free samples of "tooth powder that produced a minty foam") but maintains the power to stir heartbreak, as with Eli's infatuation with a consumptive hotel bookkeeper. As more of the brothers' story is teased out, Charlie and Eli explore the human implications of many of the clichés of the old west and come off looking less and less like killers and more like traumatized young men. With nods to Charles Portis and Frank Norris, DeWitt has produced a genre-bending frontier saga that is exciting, funny, and, perhaps unexpectedly, moving. (May)
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“Patrick deWitt’s Booker-nominated tale of two hired guns during the Gold Rush, is ‘weirdly funny, startlingly violent and steeped in sadness,’ according to Ron Charles.” (Washington Post)
“[A]n odd gem...that has one of most engaging and thoughtful narrators I’ve come across in a long time....The novel belongs to the great tradition of subversive westerns...but deWitt has a deadpan comic voice and a sneaky philosophical bent that’s all his own.” (Tom Perrotta's Favorite Fiction of 2011 on Salon.com)
“This bloody buddy tale of two hired guns during the Gold Rush is weirdly funny, startlingly violent and steeped in sadness a reaffirmation of the endurance of the Western.” (Notable Fiction of 2011, Washington Post)
“DeWitt’s THE SISTERS BROTHERS is a glorious picaresque Western; everything about this book is stylish, from its conceit to its cover design making it a truly worthy inclusion on the shortlist.” (Daily Beast)
“If Cormac McCarthy had a sense of humor, he might have concocted a story like Patrick DeWitt’s bloody, darkly funny western THE SISTERS BROTHERS...[DeWitt has] a skillfully polished voice and a penchant for gleefully looking under bloody bandages.” (Los Angeles Times)
“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)
“[T]here’s something cinematic about Mr. deWitt’s unadorned prose style, which at first made this reader do a double-takecan this be serious?only to continue flicking the pages with pleasure.” (Wall Street Journal)
“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)
“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)
“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)
“Mesmerizing… The book seduces us to its characters, and draws us on the strength of deWitt’s subtle, nothing-wasted prose. He writes with gorgeous precision about the grotesque: an amputation, a gouged eye, a con in a dive bar, a nauseating body count [without] macho brutishness.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
“DeWitt’s exploitations of the picaresque form are striking, and he has a wonderful way of exercising his comic gifts without ever compromising the novel’s gradual accumulation of darkness, disgust, and foreboding.” (The Millions)
“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.” (David Wroblewski, bestselling author of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle)
“Like Tarantino, deWitt knows that attitude makes blood funny; like Twain, he understands a reader’s willingness to forgive a good narrator’s personal flaws.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
“[THE SISTERS BROTHERS] is full of surprises, among them…is the quirky beauty of the language Patrick deWitt has devised for his narrator.... THE SISTERS BROTHERS is deWitt’s second novel…and is an inventive and ingenious character study. It will make you impatient for the third.” (Dallas Morning News)
“Original, entrancing and entertaining.” (Denver Post)
“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)
“The brothers’ punchily poetic banter and the book’s bracing bursts of violence keep this campfire yarn pulled taut.” (The Onion AV Club)
“Funny and strange [and] oddly warm…you’ll find yourself ashamedly pulling for the brothers Sisters like you did for Jules and Vinnie in Pulp Fiction.” (Outside magazine)
“Patrick deWitt’s narrator--a hired killer with a bad conscience and a melancholy disposition--is a brilliant and memorable creation.” (Tom Perrotta, bestselling author of Little Children)
“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.” (Gil Adamson, author of The Outlander)
“At once dark and touching, The Sisters Brothers has something on every page to make you laugh. Patrick deWitt has given us a gift, reimagining the old west in a thoroughly original manner. Readers are all the better for it.” (Charles Bock, New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Children)
“…gritty, as well as deadpan and often very comic…DeWitt has chosen a narrative voice so sharp and distinctive…it’s very narrowing of possibilities opens new doors in the imagination.” (New York Times Book 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.” (Wells Tower, author of Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned)
This book came recommended to me by a co-worker and I enjoyed it as well. I was a little disappointed with the ending, although that's not a cut on the author just not what I... Read morePublished 2 days ago by Rachel H.
The love of violence of one brother was perfectly matched by the love of violence of the other, and, though different, those loves could only be quenched by the loss of the... Read morePublished 6 days ago by Robert Arford
The pre-determined boxes presented to help describe this book fall short.
deWitt's writing is crisp and singularly original. Read more
This book is about two brothers – killers for hire – set in the 1860s goldrush of California. It is introspective, quirky, spare of language, but still descriptive – written as one... Read morePublished 20 days ago by D. Carta
Great read, a well written insight into the life and times of two brothers, contract killers in the time of the Californian gold rushes. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Jenny Thomas
It was not what I thought from the first but I enjoyed the read and the character development.Published 26 days ago by Peggy Burke
This is my first dabble in the cowboy noir genre. I have to admit that I didn't know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. Read morePublished 29 days ago by C. Miller
Revisionist myth, magic realism, humor as black as pitch, picaresque adventures, nihilism that gets transcended, an invented diction worthy of Burgess -- and a horse who will break... Read morePublished 29 days ago by velaphi