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The Sisters Brothers

The Sisters Brothers is set as a western novel – in fact a gold rush western novel – but it is an unusual one. The book chronicles some of the adventures of Eli and Charlie Sisters, paid killers on what would be their last job.  The story, narrated by Eli Sisters is as much about Eli’s state of mind and his complicated relationship with his murderous brother as it is about the story.  Charlie is the action man while Eli stews over the meaning and significance of events. They bicker about their roles and their relationship, and we learn about the tragic events of their childhood which led to their unusual and nasty life choices.

Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 9.44.18 AMThis is a highly readable book – the pages fly away – a relief after the last novel I attempted and abandoned. It’s conversational and matter of fact and rich in dark humour. In fact, it’s quite a powerful book. Author Patrick DeWitt has created a fascinating pair of characters, and has let us ride  with them on their peculiar and violent adventures.

The Sisters Brothers questions what motivates people.  How do any of us wind up doing whatever roles we take on in life?  What are any of us capable of? To what degree are our actions today driven by circumstance or by childhood experience?  Can people change?







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