Book Review: The Sisters Brothers

Every year, the university I work at chooses a book of the year. We all read it and then the author visits and there's public readings, workshops, etc. I was super excited to read this year's book because rumour said it was a darkly humorous western - I like dark humour (I think) and I hadn't read a western in...well ever but I super love Firefly so I couldn't wait to read it. I was able to convince book club to read dark comedies for February and couldn't wait to take The Sisters Brothers along with me to Moose Jaw for my vacation!

February 2015: Dark Comedy

The Sisters Brothers
By Patrick deWitt
325 pages

Charlie and Eli Sisters are infamously known as the Sisters Brothers - hired, brutal killers. The Commodore sends them out to San Francisco to find a prospector who assumably did wrong. The brothers head out on their new used horses, and after a series of misfortunes (and killings) eventually find the prospector. But things don't go as planned and the brothers' future is irreparably changed.

This book is full of shooting and dirt and horses and gold dust. Eli is the narrator and deWitt does a suburb job giving insight into his character. The younger brother is a pensive man; seeing the wild west through his eyes somewhat tempers the violence. You can really feel his inner dilemma about his chosen career. deWitt does a great job overall of making the killing not overly violent, and I guess this is the dark humour of the novel. Consider Eli's unfortunate horse, Tub, who is a most tragic character, yet all the ills that befall him are actually...funny, in a perverse way. Poor Tub.

Besides the violence, which is really in the background, I really enjoyed reading this western. It makes me wonder why I don't read more westerns - something I will definitely fix in the future! I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes westerns, and horses,  or darkly humorous books, or those who aren't scared of violence. It's a quick read, I think y'all should pick it up and follow the Sisters Brothers through their gold dust tinged last job!