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The Sisters Brothers [Kindle Edition]

Patrick deWitt
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (393 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £6.99
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Book Description

Hermann Kermit Warm is going to die. Across 1000 miles of Oregon desert his assassins, the notorious Eli and Charlies Sisters, ride - fighting, shooting, and drinking their way to Sacramento. But their prey isn't an easy mark, the road is long and bloody, and somewhere along the path Eli begins to question what he does for a living - and whom he does it for.

The Sisters Brothers pays homage to the classic Western, transforming it into an unforgettable ribald tour de force. Filled with a remarkable cast of 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.

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'Triumphantly dark ... The writing is superb ... deWitt has ensured another unforgettable pair their place in fictive lore' --Sunday Telegraph

'A blackly comic witty noir version of Don Quixote. DeWitt's story is hugely entertaining' --Financial Times

'Often blackly hilarious' --The Times

'An unsettling, compelling and deeply strange picaresque novel ... it has much to say about the business of being human' --Independent on Sunday

'A stunningly accomplished book. With this novel, deWitt proves that he is well on the way to greatness' --Dazed & Confused

'The Sisters Brothers confirms DeWitt as one of the most talented young writers around' --Sunday Times

'A powerfully realized work of narrative fiction ... the dialogue is sharp as a whip' --Times Literary Supplement

`A boldly eloquent adventure story full of sweat and casual violence about a man trying to live a better life' --Metro

'Bursting with vitality and driven along by a terrific pulpy energy' --The Herald

'DeWitt never misses a beat in what is a masterclass on the twists of the mind and heart'


"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

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 476 KB
  • Print Length: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books (5 May 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847083196
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847083197
  • ASIN: B005DI9E8S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (393 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #5,229 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
110 of 115 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fabulous Read 7 Aug. 2011
I first heard about The Sisters Brothers when it recently made it onto the Man Booker Longlist - perversely enough, it was all the mutterings about it not being a suitable nominee plus some irresistible cover lust which made me even keener to read it.

Firstly, a word of warning...this is not a pretty novel, it's set back in the 1850s during the California Gold Rush when men were men and horses didn't have whisperers. There are scenes of cruelty, to both animals and humans, so best to move on if this would detract from your reading enjoyment.

It is 1851, the Californian Gold Rush is in full swing and our narrator, Eli Sisters, hired killer, is accompanying his older brother Charlie on an eventful journey from Oregon to Sacramento, to track down and kill one Hermann Kermit Warm. Their quest has an epic feel to it as they encounter a range of wild and wonderful characters en route, think Don Quixote meets the Coen and Blues Brothers with a dash of Cormac Mc Carthy thrown in for good measure. Yet, it doesn't seem derivative and ends up being a really fresh, original piece of work - defying categorisation.

Eli is a psychopath with a (slight) conscience and therein lies the conflict between the brothers. Even as he relates their latest killing in his usual deadpan tone, you know his heart is no longer in it and he longs for a different life, even suggesting opening a store - Charlie is not particularly open to the idea... Their story is compelling but unsettling, dark but humorous and so cinematic, you can just visualise their adventures rolling onto the big screen.

A very special novel which will entertain a wide range of readers including those biblio-butterflies who like a change of genre every now and then.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Fistful of Nothing? 24 Feb. 2012
It can be hard reading (and then reviewing) a highly acclaimed book, particularly if you find your own opinion of it contrary to everybody else's. I had wanted to read 'The Sisters Brothers' since before it was longlisted for the Booker prize; its subsequent acclaim had me anticipating something special. Whilst in no way a bad book, I found 'TSB' to be a pedestrian tale. A tale well told, but one that failed to deliver on its promise.

The novel is narrated by Eli Sisters, one half of the notorious Sisters Brothers, murderous enforcers for an unseen crime baron called 'The Commodore'. Eli and Charlie are travelling to California, to track down Herman Warm. Warm has irritated their employer, and Eli and Charlie have been dispatched to ensure he doesn't do it again.

The period and setting are well constructed. deWitt conveys the openness of the wild west well, but what really stands out is the sense of lawlessness. Unlike most depictions of the Gold Rush era deWitt's contains no glamour; it is survival of the fittest. The strongest takes what it wants from the weak, and the weak die. The motto of almost everybody in the book is 'Get rich or die tryin'.

The novel's characters, particularly Eli, are well drawn. Charlie is a ruthless killer, Eli is on the surface a brute; violent and quick to anger, but he has another side. Eli is a dangerous man, but he is also a thinker, and he does not like what he has become. The novel explores his inner turmoil as he tries to transcend his circumstances and lead a better life. Although the style, settings and characters are entirely different, I found 'TSB' curiously reminiscent of 'Great Expectations'.

The story essentially follows Eli's pitiful attempts to change.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt 25 April 2012
By iandliz
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the story of Charlie and Eli Sisters, hired heavyweights and assassins in the height of the 1850s Gold Rush they are as mean and rough as they come. The book begins when they are sent on a mission to kill one Hermann Kermit Warm who has offended their boss, the Commodore. As they journey in search of Warm our narrator, Eli Sisters, begins to dream of a different way of life. Tired of killing he wants to settle down with a nice girl, he has become conscious of his figure and wants to lose weight, he's discovered tooth cream and he is uncommonly fond of his slow and sickly horse. Charlie, on the other hand, is as ruthless as ever and is perfectly happy to carry on with the killings.

The overall theme is about Eli Sisters wanting to go straight. But first he needs to tie up his loose ends, which involves a few more killings before he can sleep easy in his bed. It is really a dark comedy, which addresses the irony of such bad men having a softer side to them. The brothers have lots of adventures on the way and meet a cast of quirky characters giving a light element in terms of humour, with the brothers bickering continually, combined with some ridiculously horrific scenes such as the removal of the horse's eye, some brutal killings and the painful effects of a chemical used to show up gold on riverbeds.

If you can handle dark humour then this is a very entertaining read, and you can't help liking the brothers despite their ruthlessness. The ending is quite sweet really and marks a turning point in their lives. I like that this was shortlisted for the Booker prize, I think it stands out as an unusual and deceptively complex read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Tarantino meets the Coen Brothers
Think Tarantino meets the Coen Brothers and you start to get a feel for this book. It was long listed for the Booker Prize, but was obviously too readable and enjoyable to make the... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Phil G
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Eloquent cowboys. Certainly something different!
Published 2 months ago by BookishBecky
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant book, very readable, brings that time in American history to life, a good read.
Published 2 months ago by Douglas Belassie
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible
What a dreadful book, I only finished it as it was required reading for book club.
Published 3 months ago by Angie M
5.0 out of 5 stars Great escapism.
I loved this book although I'd never have expected to be absorbed with the lives of a couple of 'country boys out West. Read more
Published 3 months ago by sep4343
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read.
Published 3 months ago by Orinoco
1.0 out of 5 stars Would not recommend
Funny in parts but repellent in others
Published 3 months ago by Lt Col J. Need
5.0 out of 5 stars think Treasure of the Sierra Madre by Tarantino on high.
Cormac McArthy comes to mind at first, but this very different. Violent (extremely) this picaresque story is told through the eyes (and that's another gruesome bit) of one of the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Colin Hodson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good story
Published 4 months ago by Mrs M. Vafiadis
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
An entertaining read spoilt by Hermann's faux chemistry.
Published 4 months ago by Doug
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