So ‘The Sisters Brothers’….
I didn’t like Charlie Sisters. He’s a vicious killer. I didn’t like Eli Sisters. He’s also a vicious killer.
What do you do when the main character, your leading man, your narrator is an unstable hired thug? A man capable of heinous acts of brutality, a man so devoid of reason that it makes your stomach flip. Did I also mention that he is gentle, loyal and chivalrous? He’s also deathly afraid of spiders.
Eli Sisters, a notorious gun toting murderer, is a man conflicted. Who is the real Eli? Can he ever discover his true purpose in life if always in the shadow of his elder brother? But their ties go deeper than most brothers. Ride or die, that’s the way of the West.
We follow the brothers as they pursue an elusive target on their not so trusty steeds and meet miners, campers, whores and rogue inventors along the way. The writing is brisk, the language stark and the atmosphere is ever brooding. Chapters are mere pages long and there was tremendous satisfaction in getting through one still intact.
I will be honest, I didn’t enjoy the content, I didn’t like or trust the characters, but deWitt’s style and delivery compelled me to read on. Very rarely do I find myself on the dissenting side of our discussions but on this occasion, I was. The men at our talk gave glowing reports of their time with the Sisters but of the three women present on the night, two of us were the only ones who said they didn’t enjoy it. Was it our genteel feminine nature that was opposed to such casual violence? No, it wasn’t that. You’ll have to decide for yourself.
There is plenty of humour in the novel that would go some way to balancing out the bleakness of it all. It has a Coen Brothers’ future film project written all over it- all dark humour, witty dialogue and irony galore.
The latter half of the novel takes an unexpected turn and I felt the pace drag a little. The introduction of new characters may have been a little unnecessary, but I enjoyed the ending and felt Patrick return to earlier winning form.
Next up is Colum McCann’s ‘TransAtlantic’ a story that combines three historical periods of journeys to and from America and Ireland.
You’re in safe hands with a master storyteller like Colum. We join Alcock and Brown on the very first transatlantic flight; Frederick Douglass, a former black slave championing the abolition of slavery during talks in Dublin at the time of the famine and Senator George Mitchell as he negotiated the political maze of Northern Ireland.
The stories are based on real events, but Colum brings out the magic in them in his own unique way.
Visit Books@One to pick up your copies of both books and then stay for a cuppa!