The Sisters Brothers

The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick deWitt

I don’t read a lot of westerns, but the funny title and striking cover caught my eye. Eli and Charlie Sisters are outlaws based in Oregon City in 1851, during the Gold Rush. Their boss, the mysterious Commodore, has a new job for the Sisters brothers; to kill gold prospector Herman Kermit Warm near San Francisco. The trip doesn’t begin well; Eli resents that Charlie has been put in charge, and Eli’s current horse, Tub, may not be up for such a long journey. 

Charlie got into a lot of fights as a kid, and the larger Eli defended him. Now Charlie likes to drink, and kill people. Eli, however, is starting to listen to his conscience, although he feels obligated to help his brother. But really, Eli’s not very happy, and he might like to be a shopkeeper instead, and settle down with a nice woman. Eccentric characters and numerous adventures enliven their journey, along with comic interludes. The horse Tub continues his decline, but Eli doesn’t want to part with him. Herman Kermit Warm is not the thief the Sisters brothers expected, and his secret to successful gold prospecting comes with a high price. I’m not a bit surprised that film rights have already been optioned for this darkly funny, award-winning, offbeat Western. For an animated video about the book, visit the author’s web site.


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