Winner of the Governor General's Award for Fiction, the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, the Prix des libraires du Quebec and the Stephen Leacock Medal. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and the Walter Scott Prize.
Hermann Kermit Warm is going to die: Eli and Charlie Sisters can be counted on for that. Though Eli has never shared his brother’s penchant for whiskey and killing, he’s never known anything else. On the road to Warm’s gold-mining claim outside San Francisco -- and from the back of his long-suffering one-eyed horse -- Eli struggles to make sense of his life without abandoning the job he's sworn to do.
Patrick DeWitt, acclaimed author of Ablutions, doffs his hat to the classic Western, and then transforms it into a comic tour-de-force with an unforgettable narrative voice that captures all the absurdity, melancholy, and grit of the West -- and of these two brothers, bound to each other by blood and scars and love.
PATRICK DEWITT was born on Vancouver Island in 1975. He is the author of three critically acclaimed novels: Undermajordomo Minor, Ablutions and The Sisters Brothers, which won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and the Stephen Leacock Medal, and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Scotiabank Giller Prize. He lives in Portland, Oregon.
. . . [an] unsettling, compelling and deeply strange picaresque novel.
Fully invested, DeWitt is a hilarious, wry wordsmith and a masterful storyteller. The Sisters Brothers, with its sharp edges and instinctive compassion, is far from historical displacement or genre escapism. It is art worthy of the status, regardless of context or -ism.
. . . cinematic, wry and mannered . . . DeWitt['s] ability to distill an image with a couple of well-chosen words and the precision and intensity of his language gives [The] Sisters [Brothers] a dreamlike aura.
. . . original, entrancing and entertaining . . .
There is something irresistibly cinematic about this quirky tale, a Coen brothers-style strangeness that paradoxically celebrates an unlikely humanity.
DeWitt has invigorated [the] well-worn path [of the classic Western] with wit, style, and imagination.
The Sisters Brothers is a bloody, nightmarish frontier road trip that seems at times like something out of Cormac McCarthy, yet somehow merges laughter and hope with suffering, death and betrayal. [...] Like an alchemist, deWitt has refined and purified the base metals of black comedy and the western to produce literary gold.
. . . gory, mesmerizing . . . carries a strong echo of Pulp Fiction . . . seduces us to its characters, and draws us on the strength of deWitt's subtle, nothing-wasted prose.
. . . edgy and unyielding . . . The Sisters Brothers gives readers a sense of adventure without ever having to stare down the barrel of a gun.
. . . darkly hilarious . . . riveting . . . deWitt welcomingly reimagines the [Western] genre.
[Patrick] DeWitt has produced a genre-bending frontier saga that is exciting, funny, and perhaps unexpectedly, moving.
I doubt very much I'll read a funnier, more original book than this picaresque, Wild West tale . . . a terrifically spun yarn . . . masterfully strange and wonderful . . .
DeWitt’s inspired, many-layered yarn is as entertaining and as stylistically accomplished as it is unsettling and most original in its revisiting of what remains a glorious genre.
. . . hilarious, dark, twisted and compelling.
. . . a lushly voiced picaresque story . . . It's a kind of True Grit told by Tom Waits.
Bursting with vitality and driven along by a terrific pulpy energy, The Sisters Brothers is the kind of book you may well end up wholeheartedly recommending to friends.
The Sisters Brothers is a bold, original and powerfully compelling work, grounded in well-drawn characters and a firm hold on narrative. When they say “They don’t write em like that anymore,” they’re wrong.
... sheer brilliance ...
. . . a witty noir version of Don Quixote . . . hugely entertaining.
America seems anything but beautiful in Patrick DeWitt’s quirky and ultimately touching new novel The Sisters Brothers.
Patrick deWitt has written an Old West tale that conjures up the colourful images of a spaghetti western filled with stark realism, eccentric characters and black humour . . . If you’re looking for an unforgettable western, grab this one.
. . . imaginative and ebullient . . . revels in the hilarious life and times of two gunslingers, Eli and Charlie Sisters.
The Sisters Brothers has a cadence and flow to its prose and the reader can almost hear Eli's laconic narration as the pages turn . . . here is a hardcover that practically holds a Colt to your head and growls: read me.
. . . comic . . . engaging . . . the brothers' poetic banter and the book’s bracing bursts of violence keep this campfire yarn pulled taut.
. . . a darkly comic, compelling and surprising story . . . I doubt I'll find a more entertaining and thoughtful novel this year.
. . . wryly comic, heartbreakingly sentimental, and immensely likable . . .
. . . fresh, hilariously anti-heroic, often genuinely chilling, and relentlessly compelling. Yes, this is a mighty fine read, and deWitt a mighty fine writer.
[Patrick deWitt] frequently crosses into comic territory to produce a story that's weirdly funny, startlingly violent and steeped in sadness.
. . . spirited and often humorous . . . Patrick deWitt's picaresque narrative works with a wink and a nod of reverence, squaring with recent revivals of the Western in popular culture, namely HBO's Deadwood.
. . . smooth and seamless, shot through with dark humor . . . as easy to slip into as the old HBO series 'Deadwood.'
[Patrick deWitt] has taken the typical saga and, with laser-sharp prose, masterful storytelling, and an eccentrically perfect combination of humor, violence, lust, and pathos, has turned it completely upside-down. Never has the Old West seemed so simultaneously and page-turningly beautiful, tragic, and comedic, or a cowboy so delightfully neurotic.
. . . a book that’s both a heck of a lot of fun to read and surprisingly compelling when it ends -- one that both your hipster brother and your straight-arrow dad will get a kick out of.
Violent, funny and strangely touching, [The Sisters Brothers is] destined for a spot on many best-of-2011 lists.
. . . gritty . . . deadpan . . . very comedic . . . opens new doors in the imagination.
So subtle is deWitt's prose, so slyly note-perfect his rendition of Eli's voice in all its earnestly charming 19th-century syntax, and so compulsively readable his bleakly funny western noir story, that readers will stick by Eli even as he grinds his heel into the shattered skull of an already dead prospector.
Wandering his Western landscape with the cool confidence of a practiced pistoleer, deWitt's steady hand belies a hair trigger, a poet's heart and an acute sense of gallows humor . . . It's easy to imagine John C. Reilly - who is set to star in the film version of the book - lumbering through this breezy, pitch-black comedy's cinematic scenes.
In The Sisters Brothers, a diabolical combination of Laurel and Hardy and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (with a touch of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, just to emphasise the high literary stakes) deWitt has ensured another unforgettable pair their place in fictive lore.
Winner, Governor General’s Literary Award
Winner, Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize
Winner, Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal
Winner, Canadian Booksellers Association Libris Award: Fiction Book of the Year
Winner, Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Book Award
Winner, Oregon Book Awards: Ken Kesey Award for Fiction
Finalist, Man Booker Prize for Fiction
Finalist, Scotiabank Giller Prize
Finalist, CBC Bookie Awards: Literary Fiction
Finalist, Walter Scott Prize
Finalist, CBA Libris Award: Author of the Year
Finalist, GOOGLE PLAY™ International Author of the Year Finalist
A LitHub Best Book of the Decade Runner-Up
An Indigo Best Book of the Decade
A Globe and Mail Top 100 Book
A Publishers Weekly Best Book
An Amazon.ca Best Books Editors’ Pick
An Amazon.ca Best Books: Canadian Fiction
A Quill & Quire Book of the Year
A Toronto Star Reviewers’ Top 100 Book
A Maclean’s Magazine Best Book
Named One of Canada’s Best Writers by the Irish Times
“The Sisters Brothers is a bold, original, and powerfully compelling work, grounded in well-drawn characters and a firm hold on narrative. When they say, ‘They don’t write ’em like that anymore,’ they’re wrong.” — Globe and Mail
“The Sisters Brothers confirms Patrick deWitt as one of the most talented young writers around.” — Sunday Times
“A powerfully realized work of narrative fiction . . . the dialogue is sharp as a whip . . . the novel works artfully within its formal boundaries to explore the nature of brotherhood, work, love, greed, loneliness, and personal renewal.” — Times Literary Supplement
“Weirdly funny, startlingly violent, and steeped in sadness . . . It’s all rendered irresistible by Eli Sisters, who narrates with a mixture of melancholy and thoughtfulness . . . After capturing the fireside camps and saloons in perfectly drawn vignettes, deWitt strips these two lethal brothers of more than they ever thought a man could lose. And then, damned if he doesn’t surprise us again with a twilight scene that’s just miraculously lovely.” — Washington Post
“There never was a more engaging pair of psychopaths than Charlie and Eli Sisters . . . So subtle is deWitt’s prose, so slyly note-perfect his rendition of Eli’s voice in all its earnestly charming nineteenth-century syntax, and so compulsively readable his bleakly funny Western noir story, that readers will stick by Eli even as he grinds his heel into the shattered skull of an already dead prospector.” — Maclean’s
“Fresh, hilariously anti-heroic, often genuinely chilling, and relentlessly compelling. Yes, this is a mighty fine read, and deWitt a mighty fine writer.” — National Post
“Okay, so it does take a Canadian to write a truly great Western novel of daunting, surrealist panache and rooted in unwavering empathy — and that just about sums up the dark, profound achievement which is The Sisters Brothers.” — Irish Times