Title: The Sisters Brothers
Author: Patrick deWitt
Rating: 3 out of 5
I have a difficult time classifying this book both in terms of genre and in terms of whether I really liked it or not. Though set in the West during the California gold rush and featuring plenty of gunslinging, this doesn’t read much like a Western. It bears much more resemblance to the crime novels of the 1930’s-50’s by the likes of James M. Cain and David Goodis but with some of the levity and style of a picaresque novel.
The episodic storyline follows a duo of infamous hired killers on their latest assignment to hunt down a certain prospector. The first-person narration by the younger brother, Eli, paints a picture of a somewhat bewildered, often likeable man rather than a conscienceless monster (even as many of the brothers’ actions are sadistic and/or appalling). The book definitely kept my interest throughout, and the author’s extremely dry sense of humor was entertaining, but there were some parts that were just a bit too graphic and/or crude for me to really like the book.