Book Review – The Sisters Brothers – Patrick deWitt



  •    Book: The Sisters Brothers
  •    Author: Patrick deWitt
  •    Genre: Fiction / Western
  •    Year of Release: 2011
  •    Read 330-page hardcover edition in April 2016.

Book Description:

In his second novel, Patrick deWitt fuses together comedy and western, as we hear the tale of Eli and Charlie Sisters, two brothers who are responsible for tracking down and taking out people who have wronged the Commodore.  However, we learn some of the inner thoughts of each brother, particularly Eli, who as it turns out, is unsure if this life of murder and crime is what he wants.  Their latest task is to travel from Oregon City to California to find a man who wronged the Commodore.  However, what they discover on their journey may be something much more complicated and lead to surprising ends.

Book Review:

This novel from deWitt was funny, shocking, brutal, and thoughtful, and often multiple feelings could be felt at the same time.  This fact shows the skill deWitt has at taking some basic concepts of comedy and the western genre, and bringing them together in a fresh story.

deWitt does a fine job on both the plot side, and the character development side.  The Sisters Brothers, who are the two main characters in this story, are fascinating.  We see them interact in different ways as the plot progresses, and we also get to see the loyalty between the two, but also the major differences in their personalities.  The way they interact with other characters as they travel is fun and interesting, although at times it seems some characters are brought into the story but not fully explored and do not come back to the tale.  For example, a couple of characters early in the novel are explained and seem to be important to the story at hand, but don’t seem to come back to the story, and it makes one wonder why a chapter of writing was spent focused on them.

On the plot side, deWitt creates a fun, adventure tale in the context of the western genre, but creates enough dark comedy within the story that it feels fresh and new.  At times deWitt is blunt and bloody in his descriptions, and at other times he allows morbid dark humour to dull the shock of what is going on.  Overall, this is a creative approach that if enjoyable for the reader.

In summary, this novel truly showcases deWitt as a talented writer, and someone to watch going forward.

Overall: 4 stars out of 5 stars