Book Review: “The Sisters Brothers” by Patrick deWitt

It feels appropriate to drink whiskey (which is what I’m currently doing) while writing about this book. Not only does whiskey often make an appearance in this book, but I feel like whiskey was the aesthetic deWitt was going for.

The Sisters brothers are hired hands for a man called The Commodore. It’s with blank faces, and sometimes a bit of dry wit, that these brothers extinguish the lives of men they don’t know, for the sake of a few dollars which is usually spent on, you guessed it, whiskey.

DeWitt chronicles their journey from Oregon City to the gold-infested rivers of California in search of a man who, in my opinion, has one of the best names literature has to offer: Hermann Kermit Warm. Beautiful.

The landscape is droll, the scenery riddled with men drunk on, yes, whiskey, but also the idea of wealth. The idea that a few little flakes or nuggets of gold, just out of their reach, could solve every problem, and they could return home victorious and rich and a favorite with the ladies.

In any case, it’s a raw, honest look at the wild west frontier we’ve all heard about, but with a conscience, and heroes hardly worth rooting for, but oh-so lovable in their own way. There’s a sense of humor in the dark details of the bloody trail Eli and Charlie Sisters leave in their wake, and it’s captivating.

Favorite line (without spoiling too much): “this is where the clock stopped”

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