A Wicked Western


I was sitting outside the Commodore’s mansion, waiting for my brother Charlie to come out with news of the job.

Deep in the heart of gold-mining country, the Sisters Brothers are travelling in search of one Mr Hermann Kermit Warm. The Commodore wants Warm dead and so the best men in the business are answering his call – Eli and Charlie Sisters.

Written in short, snappy chapters from the point of view of the younger Sisters Brother, Eli, this western was a revelation! I’m not usually one for westerns at all really but as both my Auntie and cousin both enjoyed DeWitt’s novel, I was tempted to give it a whirl and I’m so pleased I did!

Set in 1851, The Sisters Brothers is a fast-paced, action-packed read but one that is intelligent in its delivery. The characters, namely the brothers, and their life on the road is incredibly well crafted and formulated with fascinating insight into the lives of men whose job it is to end lives for money. Eli is beginning to suffer from an existential crisis, unsure if he wants to continue on the road with his brother and questioning if he is on the right path or just following Charlie.

The layout of the book, divided into small chapters, makes its very episodic. As we follow Eli and Charlie from Oregon to California, they meet a whole host of people (whores, drunks and witches to name but a few!) and they get into all sorts of situations that demonstrate their relationship with each other and their differing perspectives.

The Sisters Brothers reads the same way I imagine an old Western film plays – with drama, daring and dark deeds. It’s a cinematic cowboy-noir novel that doesn’t fail to entertain. It’s a brutal depiction of a harsh historical period, a time where savagery reigns supreme and people shoot first and ask questions later. I read this book with gusto and was surprised at how engaging and entertaining DeWitt’s novel was. I’ve already been jumping on the bandwagon and recommending it as a great Christmas read/present so if you have the chance, let it surprise you too!

4 star


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