The Sisters Brothers

Author(s): Patrick deWitt

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Hermann Kermit Warm is going to die. The enigmatic and powerful man known only as the Commodore has ordered it, and his henchmen, Eli and Charlie Sisters, will make sure of it. Though Eli doesn't share his brother's appetite for whiskey and killing, he's never known anything else. But their prey isn't an easy mark, and on the road from Oregon City to Warm's gold-mining claim outside Sacramento, Eli begins to question what he does for a living-and whom he does it for.

With The Sisters Brothers, Patrick deWitt pays homage to the classic Western, transforming it into an unforgettable comic tour de force. Filled with a remarkable cast of characters-losers, cheaters, and ne'er-do-wells from all stripes of life-and told by a complex and compelling narrator, it is a violent, lustful odyssey through the underworld of the 1850s frontier that beautifully captures the humor, melancholy, and grit of the Old West and two brothers bound by blood, violence, and love.


Although not new (short listed for the Man Booker in 2011), the film adaptation was only released at the end of 2018. The narrator and main character is Eli Sisters, a hired killer, and the action is set around the time of the Gold Rush in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Eli’s older brother, Charlie, gives the orders and in turn, takes instruction from a businessman known only as the Commodore. They head down to San Francisco to kill a mysterious stranger for some undefined reason and the journey becomes an odyssey with all manner of strange adventure and revelation. Frontier life is cheap and since the discovery of gold there is even more incentive to kill and thereby get rich. The brothers bicker and argue but are fiercely loyal to each other and this contrast reveals an ironic humour that only siblings could produce. This is a comic fable about loneliness and the Pyrrhic promise of all that glitters. Not for the delicate reader perhaps, but the writing is superb; there is a poetry here typical of Dylanesque storytelling. Mike




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Product Information

Shortlisted for Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2011.

Patrick deWitt's first novel Ablutions was a huge critical success. Born in British Columbia, he has also lived in California, Washington, and Oregon, where he currently resides with his wife and son.

General Fields

  • : 9781847083197
  • : Granta Books
  • : Granta Books
  • : October 2011
  • : 198mm X 129mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : September 2017
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : English
  • : 813.6
  • : 325
  • : Patrick deWitt
  • : Paperback
  • : 112