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Kim Tomsic

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Sisters Brothers: A Macabre Poetical Comedy

Book Review by Kim Tomsic


When The Sisters Brothers popped up as Amazon's must-read book of the year, I happily succumbed to marketing pressures and downloaded the book. I can now report that Amazon's plug was not mere smoke and mirrors, but instead a genuine enthusiastic recommendation.



The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt involves two brothers who work as hired killers during the time of the gold rush. Elie Sisters, the lovable younger brother, attempts manners and big-hearted gestures. Charlie Sisters, the older brother, comes off callous, soulless, and yet somewhat reasonable. These hired killers aren't cardboard cutouts of the black hat wearing villains who typically appear in westerns. Sometimes they're lovable, charming and full of charisma. Their bizarre back and forth banter is a combination enough to create a macabre poetical comedy. For anyone who watched Pulp Fiction, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.


Jacket flap

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.
In a word or two: Original, hilarious, riveting

Product Details


  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; Reprint edition (April 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062041266
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062041265
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6 x 1.1 inches

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