“The Sisters Brothers” by Patrick deWitt

The Sisters BrothersThe Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The setting for this book is during the time of the Gold Rush in California. Most people are dirt poor and lots of them headed west to try and make their fortune, but ended up starving to death, getting murdered, or died by some other sickness or disease. Everyone smelled and brushing your teeth was only on the fringe of becoming trendy. You had one outfit you wore until it fell apart. Horse meat and pork fat was pretty much the main staples of your diet. Doctors gave out bottles of morphine for “brandy sickness.” You get the picture.

Charlie and Eli Sisters are famous outlaws, known for killing. People fear them. They work for some bad-ass named the Commodore. When he got mad at someone, he sent the Sisters Brothers to “get rid of them.” In this one, the Commodore wants Charlie and Eli to kill someone named Hermann Warm because he created a liquid substance that, when poured into water, illuminated the gold in rivers, and the Commodore wanted it for himself.

The thing about Charlie and Eli is that you wondered how they made it so far and for so long. This was what Charlie (the older brother) was usually doing:

He didn’t seem very smart, but he was still deadly and every once in awhile, he’d surprise you. Eli, the younger brother, was the more sensitive and poignant one. Yet he was usually very apathetic and just went along with what Charlie did.

There are a lot of funny lines and situations in this story. Some crazy over-the-top stuff happens. But it’s also kind of a meandering story. It’s a western comedy road trip by horse adventure. But there are serious moments as well. I kind of expected an ending with more action. But it was still satisfying.

I loved Eli’s horse, Tub. Man, that horse went through a lot.

Charlie and Eli have a complicated relationship. They’re bound together by family and also just because they don’t really know anything else. Sometimes they hurt each other, but they are also loyal. It’s dysfunctional, but it changes as the story progresses.

Overall, I really liked this. It was an easy read and not something I’d normally pick. It was a good “palate cleanser” or good in-between book. I definitely recommend it!

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