“I am happy to welcome you to a town peopled in morons exclusively. Furthermore, I hope that your transformation to moron is not an unpleasant experience.”
I read Sisters Brothers after months of my brother, Edward, a fellow reviewer of BookNest, constantly telling me to pick it up. But I am not the biggest fan of Westerns so delayed it for quite a while. But Sisters Brothers was not what I was expecting. It was a Western, but a unique one that laid bare the anarchy that America really was during the 19th century, with every day a struggle for survival. It is one of tragedy, of comedy, and everything between, with a wonderful blend of tone and emotion.
Sisters Brothers is essentially a Western. But not the typical Western. It is one full of complex character relationships, inner conflict, and one that presents the grim reality of America in the 19th century. Not the romanticised version we so often are presented with.
“The creak of bed springs suffering under the weight of a restless man is as lonely a sound as I know.”
Sisters Brothers is a story driven by the relationship between two brothers, the Sisters brothers, who have been given a contract to hunt someone down. Eli is becoming tired of this job, but Charlie is not, and despite the decision of leaving has wondered into Eli’s mind many times, he cannot being himself to leave his brother.
I found that the relationships between the characters, especially the brothers, was so multi-dimensional and refreshing to read. It was crafted quickly, but subtly, sharing both their virtues and fallibilities. Despite some… shady things they do, I just could not help but like them both, and root for them during their constant tribulations.
“I lay in the dark thinking about the difficulties of family, how crazy and crooked the stories of a bloodline can be.”
Patrick deWitt’s prose is that of the first person, smooth, very easy to read, and one that allows the reader to quickly gain a grasp of the world and characters without overloading with info. A style of writing that I certainly wish was more common, and one that I look forward to reading again.
While there certainly is a plot that pushed this story forward, the main point of the story is to mirror reality, in that many events occur that are not directly linked to our end goal. And many of the main conflicts arise from things other than the contract the Sisters Brothers are on. Again, a very well crafted aspect of the story.
“We can all of us be hurt, and no one is exclusively safe from worry and sadness.”
Overall, there is basically no negative I can say about this story. While it may not be my favourite book ever, as Westerns and that culture is not my greatest passion, it is certainly up there, and that is a feat indeed. Patrick deWitt has created a story that I believe has something for everyone, and is a book that everyone should find the time to read. It is not a long book, but one that is thought provoking and rather impressively forms a huge depth to every aspect of the story, without ever becoming boring, by perfectly balancing each element of the story.