What I Read Last Week

sistersbrothersThe Sisters Brothers, winner of the Governor General’s Award for Fiction, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and the Stephen Leacock Medal, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and the Walter Scott Prize [whew!!], is Patrick deWitt’s second novel and well worth reading.

I would describe it as a gunslinger adventure tinged with fantasy.

Eli and Charlie, the dreaded Sisters brothers embark upon a life-changing mission, hunting down Hermann Warm on orders from their boss, the Commodore. Their pursuit causes Eli (the younger brother and the narrator of the tale) to experience some deep self reflection as the siblings encounter a motley bunch of travelers and many obstacles to the completion of their task.

The characters are colourful, quirky and memorable — from the wealthy “Commodore” to the lowly stable hand — keep the story lively and hilarious with just a little gore and violence thrown in. The grittiness and hardships of life for the two infamous gunmen-for-hire come to life as Eli Sisters chronicles their trek from Oregon City to the gold-studded rivers of California searching for the man who crossed the fearsome Commodore. Eli’s soul searching, as the brothers trudge through the wild frontier, compels him to take a long hard look at the life that he and Charlie are living and to realize his longing for something different.

I thought that this novel was well written, funny and thoughtful. It is a comical, somewhat gritty narrative of misadventure,violence, avarice, and love.
I would recommend this book. I am definitely going to read Mr. deWitt’s first novel, Ablutions and I look forward to his next one.


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