The Sisters Brothers

I see Patrick deWitt’s brilliant book as ‘Pulp Fiction’ meet Annie Proulx!  It has cowboys, Indians, gold, prospectors (I’ve never read or seen a movie with prospectors so I kept visualising Stinky Pete in my head!) and murders and dodgy deals aplenty.  The story is set in 1851 and tells the story of Charlie and Eli Sisters, two notorious hit-men working for a man known only as the Commodore.

Their story is told through the younger brother, Eli’s eyes.  Eli is by far the better narrator as he isn’t as bent on destruction and killing as his brother.  Through Eli’s eyes, we see how the life they live is impacting on all those around them and we feel and hear Eli’s regrets and yearning for a better, simpler life.  The two brothers are alike in so many way but also poles apart, and like all siblings, they bicker with each other.  These petty arguments add some light, comic relief to what is otherwise a grim, dark story.

Charlie poured me a drink, when normally we pour own own, so I was prepared for bad news when he said it: ‘I’m to be lead man on this one, Eli.’

‘Who says so?’

‘Commodore says so.’

I drank my brandy. ‘What’s it mean?’

‘It means I am in charge.’

‘What’s it mean about money?’

‘More for me.’

‘My money, I mean. Same as before?’

‘It’s less for you.’

‘I don’t see the sense in it.  It doesn’t make sense.’

‘Well, it does.’

He poured me another drink and I drank it.

‘It’s bad business…  and stop pouring for me like I’m an invalid.’  I took the bottle away and asked about the specifics of the job.”

I loved this book and really felt like I’d stepped back in time.  Their way of life was exhausting and I’m surprised anyone survived this cruel,’ wild west’ era.  Eli Sisters is a great character as are his brother and the other characters we meet in the book, including the elusive prospector, Herman Kermit Warm, who is their current ‘job.’  If you haven’t yet met the Sisters brothers, I urge you to do so pretty pronto!  You won’t be disappointed…

Prospector Pete!

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