Sunday, 6 May 2012

Cannonball Read #16: The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt

Cowboys, Indians, the hunt for gold, prostitutes. All the necessary elements for a Western are present in deWitt's book ”The Sisters Brothers”. A Western in book form, you ask? Well, it worked for me, and I'm not even a Western fan.

Eli and Charlie, a.k.a. the Sisters brothers, are two guns for hire. Their current mission is to find Herman Kermit Warm, who allegedly stole money from the brothers' employer, the Commodore. Their journey to find him is, predictably, littered with adventures and mishaps, and life-transforming realisations.

It was an amusing, easy read that would make for a fun film if it were directed by, say, the Coen brothers. What felt a bit hollow for me was that the aforementioned life-transforming realisations seemed to come out of nowhere. There is Eli's desire to find a woman to protect and love; but there is also their callousness when it comes to shooting people. No remorse, no sadness, no meaningful insights that this is wrong. There is no natural progression in the characters, no growing-up. For that reason, the resolution of the book felt unmotivated and anticlimactic.

Despite this flaw, I liked the book and had a great time reading it. It is worth a read.

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