Monday, August 27, 2012

I'm reading The Sisters Brothers

I can't say I read too many western novels, who does? I've tried a couple Zane Grey's, but I found the style dated, and that's about it as far as my experience of western literature is concerned which is a pity because I'm a fan of all things western. I don't block out the genre but I don't see too many titles in book shops, and I wouldn't know which authors to try anyway. But last week I read a glowing review of Patrick De Witts' novel The Sisters Brothers, I was grateful for the heads up, and doubly grateful when I found a copy in my local library the next day.

I was planning to read this book while I'm in Paris this week, but it's a real page turner and I'll probably finish it by tomorrow. The book is sharp, from the cover design to typeface and layout. It's both a pleasure to look at and to feel, the paper texture is slightly rough and it has the colour of pale sepia. If you read using a Kindle or some other device I feel sorry for you, you'll miss out on the tactile element of the book.

The story set in the California gold rush, is about two hired killers, the brothers Charles and Eli Sisters. The odyssey reminded me of Don Quixote as the brothers cross paths with a remarkable cast of characters. I'm half way through the book, the pace has been consistent (no padding), the narration by Eli is gripping.  It's witty, eloquent and heart wrenching. 

Highly recommended.

The Sisters Brothers - Photography by Tim Irving


  1. As much as the American West means to me, I also don't read many Westerns. You've given the "The Sisters Brothers" quite a write up though, so I'll give it a try before summer winds down.

    I really love the graphics on the cover. It reminds me of the artwork in a book I have called "Western Amerykanski: Polish Poster Art and the Western." The Polish version of the film poster for "High Noon" (1952 starring Gary Cooper) is especially wonderful.

    Well now since you've gobbled up "The Sisters Brothers", what will you be reading in France?

  2. I like the cover too. :-)

    Sounds like an interesting book. I haven't read much in the way of western novels myself, though years ago I read a few Louis L'Amour.



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