Title: The Sisters Brothers
Author: Patrick deWitt
Published: 2011 (House of Anansi)
Date Started: January 16, 2012 Date Finished: January 24, 2012
Worthy of Note: winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award
I was sitting outside the Commodore’s mansion…
Bare, masculine, and poetic, The Sisters Brothers brings Literature and the Western genre together in phenomenal form. It reads like a Greek tragedy, whose heroes are carried far from home only to return beaten and world-weary, and possibly the better for it.
The Sisters Brothers has its humour as well, found usually in those scene that are pure, unabashed Western trope. I am given to understand (from films, as my exposure to Western novels is severely lacking) that the wild west just isn’t the wild west without horse troubles, girl troubles, and the promise of gold in California.
We can all of us be hurt, and no one is exclusively safe from worry and sadness.
The heart of the story is Eli Sisters, the narrator, who is thuggish, romantic, wise, rash, and listless of the killing life. Somehow, his desire for redemption and his brother Charlie’s innate greed and violence are held together by a mysterious fraternal bond that, even at its weakest, remains intrepid.
Drawn more by the book’s accolades than its premise, I was surprised to find how quickly I grew fond of Eli and the cast of characters that includes murderers, thieves, weeping men, and a horse named Tub. I could not put it down and finished it entirely satisfied with this tale of Eli and Charlie, the Sisters Brothers.