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The Sisters Brothers
Cover of The Sisters Brothers
The Sisters Brothers
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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 while on the hunt, Eli begins to question what he does - and whom he does it for. Filled with a remarkable cast of characters - 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.

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 while on the hunt, Eli begins to question what he does - and whom he does it for. Filled with a remarkable cast of characters - 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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  • Patrick deWitt is the author of the critically acclaimed Ablutions: Notes for a Novel. Born in British Columbia, he has also lived in California, Washington, and Oregon, where he currently resides with his wife and son.

Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine This is one strange novel about two gunfighters in the Old West who are long on ability and short on conscience. Maybe it's because their last name is Sisters, but the two "heroes" of the novel are loyal only to each other. Patrick deWitt's intriguing story of these two greedy men, whom he somehow makes likable, is a fascinating exercise in writing skill. His scenarios are breathtakingly original--no clichÄs here. John Pruden has just enough of that laid-back cowboy drawl to allow the listener to slip into another time. His pitch-perfect rendition is a wonderful complement to this story about two soldiers of fortune traveling through old Californy during the Gold Rush days. M.S. (c) AudioFile 2011, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from January 10, 2011
    Dewitt's bang-up second novel (after Ablutions) is a quirky and stylish revisionist western. When a frontier baron known as the Commodore orders Charlie and Eli Sisters, his hired gunslingers, to track down and kill a prospector named Herman Kermit Warm, the brothers journey from Oregon to San Francisco, and eventually to Warm's claim in the Sierra foothills, running into a witch, a bear, a dead Indian, a parlor of drunken floozies, and a gang of murderous fur trappers. Eli's deadpan narration is at times strangely funny (as when he discovers dental hygiene, thanks to a frontier dentist dispensing free samples of "tooth powder that produced a minty foam") but maintains the power to stir heartbreak, as with Eli's infatuation with a consumptive hotel bookkeeper. As more of the brothers' story is teased out, Charlie and Eli explore the human implications of many of the clichés of the old west and come off looking less and less like killers and more like traumatized young men. With nods to Charles Portis and Frank Norris, DeWitt has produced a genre-bending frontier saga that is exciting, funny, and, perhaps unexpectedly, moving.

  • Kirkus Reviews

    "A calmly vicious journey into avarice and revenge...deWitt creates a homage to life in the Wild West but at the same time reveals its brutality."

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Patrick deWitt
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