Sunday, 12 January 2014
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
Hermann Kermit Warm is going to die. Eli and Charlie Sisters can be counted on for that. Though Eli has never shared his brother's penchant for whiskey and killing, he's never known anything else. On the road to Warm's gold-mining claim outside San Francisco -- and from the back of his long-suffering one-eyed horse -- Eli struggles to make sense of his life without abandoning the job he's sworn to do.
DeWitt spins a violent, lustful, hung-over and humorous odyssey through the underworld of the 1850s frontier. Doffing his hat to the classic Western, he then transforms it into a comic tour-de-force with an unforgettable narrative voice that captures all the absurdity, melancholy, and grit of the West -- and of these two brothers, bound to each other by blood and scars and love.
The second part of the synopsis from Goodreads above is spot on and I couldn't have put it better myself. It's definitely written in a way that would transport you back to the harsh reality of the Wild West during the Gold Rush. Whilst none of the human characters are particularly likeable, Tub one of the four legged ones tends to steal the show in my eyes. The Sisters brothers are not the most likeable villains in the world but at times I think their heart was in the right place, as you come to the end of the story you'll understand what I mean.
This is the sort of story I could have imagined my Grandad reading as he was a great western fan and read lots of Louis L'Amour was a particular favourite of his and I an sure that he would have loved this one too. Whilst I was reading this I could also envisage it as if it was on film and feel that it would transfer well to the silver screen.
I loved it and gave it a 9/10. It is well written and the narrative is quite sparse and not overly descriptive but conveys the story well. I love the cover illustration and it is very indicative of what the story is about.
Well worth a read but if you don't like gritty stories that can tend on the side of violence this is not the story for you. I can see why it was nominated and won several awards.