The best thing about book clubs is they introduce you to books you would never pick up yourself. Such is the case with The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt. This novel is a literary western, set against the backdrop of the California Gold Rush of the 1850’s. It follows the story of Eli and Charlie Sisters who are on a mission to kill a man. Eli, as the younger brother, is reluctant to carry on his savage killings, but Charlie is all about more money and adventure. Eli narrates the tale in an understated, formal way. At times he is tender and wistful but at other times violent and angry. The brothers meet eccentric characters along the way, and the tale turns truly dark after they decide to help two prospectors who have a secret way to find gold. Their relationship is contentious and at the same time makes for some humorous reading. I particularly enjoyed Eli’s discovery of dental care.
This is a delightful, quirky western, part dark comedy and part morality tale. If you enjoy the Coen Brothers movies (No Country for Old Men, Fargo) you will enjoy this fast paced read. The ending hints at more to come, and I do hope the Sisters brothers continue their adventures. I won’t wait for my book club to read the sequel.