Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt

Hello All,

The Western is not dead. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt is testimony to that. All the elements of the Western tradition are here: the bad guys, the worse guys, gold, bears, horses, violence, guns, gun fights, killing, women and drink. The Sisters brothers, Charlie and Eli, are the bad guys, hired by a worse guy to find and kill a guy (when the job is ordered, the reader does not know the character of the guy to be killed). Charlie is the one with the shorter temper and the taste for whiskey; Eli is the storyteller, telling first about the brothers and their travels, and then telling the story of the man they are supposed to kill, Hermann Kermit Warm. It all comes together on the banks of a river outside of San Francisco during the Gold Rush.

It is the writing that sets The Sisters Brothers apart from other Westerns I've read. The language is very formal. I recall few, if any, contractions in this book (and of course I skimmed through after I thought about this). For example, it is always "cannot" instead of "can't". No one uses the word "ain't". Upon skimming through again, I can't find any of the traditional coarse words used commonly then and used commonly now. Once I started noticing the language, how poetic and formal it is, I found it a fascinating way to tell a story to today's reader.

Highly recommended.

Happy Reading!

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt published May 2011 by Ecco; ISBN: 9780062041265

This book was sent to me for review by HarperCollins; no other compensation was offered or accepted for this review.

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