Five words from the blurb: Old West, brothers, humour, melancholy, violent
Lonesome Dove is the only Western that I’ve read and although I enjoyed it, I found it a bit too long. The Sisters Brothers has a similar style to Lonesome Dove, but it is like a tightly honed version. All the excessive flabby bits have been removed to leave a well plotted, entertaining tale set during the American Gold Rush.
Eli and Charlie Sisters are brothers with very different personalities. Charlie will do anything to make money - killing anyone who gets in his way; whilst Eli wants to pack in their violent lifestyle and settle down with a wife. Their different outlook on life generates a string of gently humoured arguments, giving a warm banter that made me smile throughout.
The brothers are hired to kill a powerful man and set off (on their less than perfect horses!) in search of their victim. They have numerous adventures on the way, but the main focus of the book remains the relationship between the brothers. I didn’t particularly like either brother, but found their banter endlessly entertaining.
The writing was simple, but engaging and I flew through the book in a couple of sittings. My only criticism is that this managed to make the Booker long list. It is an enjoyable read, but apart from a few pages about what makes a man “great” this book has little literary merit.
It is an enjoyable read and the perfect introduction to Westerns, but I’m hoping it doesn’t make the Booker short list.
The thoughts of other bloggers:
deWitt’s storytelling is head and shoulders above a lot of his better reviewed contemporaries. Book Atlas
…..even when the story becomes more contemplative you can only take the notion of a hired gunslinger with a heart so far. Kevin From Canada
…it was slick, hilariously funny, inevitably sad, and very quirky, as well as being extremely strong visually. Gaskella