The Sisters Brothers

The Sisters Brothers

by Patrick deWitt


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AND A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: Publishers Weekly • Amazon • Hudson Booksellers • Washington Post

Hermann Kermit Warm is going to die. The enigmatic and powerful man known only as the Commodore has ordered it, and his henchmen, Eli and Charlie Sisters, will make sure of it. Though Eli doesn’t share his brother’s appetite for whiskey and killing, he’s never known anything else. But their prey isn’t an easy mark, and on the road from Oregon City to Warm’s gold-mining claim outside Sacramento, Eli begins to question what he does for a living-and whom he does it for.

 With The Sisters Brothers, Patrick deWitt pays homage to the classic Western, transforming it into an unforgettable comic tour de force. Filled with a remarkable cast of characters-losers, cheaters, and ne’er-do-wells from all stripes of life-and told by a complex and compelling narrator, it is a violent, lustful odyssey through the underworld of the 1850s frontier that beautifully captures the humor, melancholy, and grit of the Old West and two brothers bound by blood, violence, and love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062041289
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/14/2012
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 68,681
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Patrick deWitt is the author of the critically acclaimed Ablutions: Notes for a Novel, as well as the novels Undermajordomo Minor and The Sisters Brothers, which was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. Born in British Columbia, Canada, he has also lived in California and Washington, and now resides in Portland, Oregon.

Read an Excerpt

The Sisters Brothers

A Novel
By Patrick DeWitt


Copyright © 2011 Patrick DeWitt
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780062041265

Chapter One

I was sitting outside the Commodore's mansion, waiting
for my brother Charlie to come out with news of the job. It was
threatening to snow and I was cold and for want of something
to do I studied Charlie's new horse, Nimble. My new horse was
called Tub. We did not believe in naming horses but they were
given to us as partial payment for the last job with the names
intact, so that was that. Our unnamed previous horses had been
immolated, so it was not as though we did not need these new
ones but I felt we should have been given money to purchase
horses of our own choosing, horses without histories and habits
and names they expected to be addressed by. I was very fond
of my previous horse and lately had been experiencing visions
while I slept of his death, his kicking, burning legs, his hot-
popping eyeballs. He could cover sixty miles in a day like a gust
of wind and I never laid a hand on him except to stroke him or
clean him, and I tried not to think of him burning up in that
barn but if the vision arrived uninvited how was I to guard
against it? Tub was a healthy enough animal but would have
been better suited to some other, less ambitious owner. He was
portly and low-backed and could not travel more than fifty miles
in a day. I was often forced to whip him, which some men do
not mind doing and which in fact some enjoy doing, but which I
did not like to do; and afterward he, Tub, believed me cruel and
thought to himself, Sad life, sad life.
I felt a weight of eyes on me and looked away from Nimble.
Charlie was gazing down from the upper-story window, holding
up five fingers. I did not respond and he distorted his face to
make me smile; when I did not smile his expression fell slack
and he moved backward, out of view. He had seen me watching
his horse, I knew. The morning before I had suggested we
sell Tub and go halves on a new horse and he had agreed this
was fair but then later, over lunch, he had said we should put it
off until the new job was completed, which did not make sense
because the problem with Tub was that he would impede the
job, so would it not be best to replace him prior to? Charlie had a
slick of food grease in his mustache and he said, 'After the job is
best, Eli.' He had no complaints with Nimble, who was as good
or better than his previous horse, unnamed, but then he had had
first pick of the two while I lay in bed recovering from a leg
wound received on the job. I did not like Tub but my brother was
satisfied with Nimble. This was the trouble with the horses.


Excerpted from The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt Copyright © 2011 by Patrick DeWitt. Excerpted by permission of Ecco. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

Charles Bock

“At once dark and touching, The Sisters Brothers has something on every page to make you laugh. Patrick deWitt has given us a gift, reimagining the old west in a thoroughly original manner. Readers are all the better for it.”

Gil Adamson

“A bright, brutal revision of the Western, The Sisters Brothers offers an unexpected meditation on life, and on the crucial difference between power and strength.”

David Wroblewski

“A gorgeous, wise, riveting work of, among other things, cowboy noir….Honestly, I can’t recall ever being this fond of a pair of psychopaths.”

Tom Perrotta

“Patrick deWitt’s narrator—a hired killer with a bad conscience and a melancholy disposition—is a brilliant and memorable creation.”

Customer Reviews