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The Sisters Brothers

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  56,250 Ratings  ·  6,708 Reviews
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 cla ...more
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published April 26th 2011 by Ecco
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(showing 1-30)
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Jan 29, 2015 Jason rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-kindle, 2012, reviewed
This book has the coolest cover ever. What’s great, though, is that the coolness doesn’t end there.

Charlie and Eli sisters are Gold Rush–era contract killers. They’re hired for what Eli hopes to be their last job, as he’d much prefer to hang his holster and settle down with a nice girl—or failing that, the first trollop that crosses his path. It makes no difference to him, really (dude is such a sweetheart). Charlie, on the other hand, is the less sensitive one. It’d be tougher to convince him t
Dec 22, 2011 Anmiryam rated it liked it
I wanted to love this book. It jumped off of my pile of shortlisted Booker Prize nominees and demanded to be read first. Everything about it shouted "Yes, it's literature, but IT's FUN." The premise is that of a classic picaresque novel -- Charlie and Eli Sisters, two professional assassins in 1850 are sent by their employer to hunt down and kill Herman Kermit Warm who may, or may not, have stolen something. In the course of their journey from Oregon to California, at the height of the gold rush ...more
Dan Schwent
Aug 25, 2014 Dan Schwent rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014, lendable
When the Commodore orders the Sisters brothers to kill Herman Kermit Warm and take his mysterious formula, they have no idea the series of misadventures they will endure in the undertaking.

I've been interested in this book forever and nabbed it on the cheap when it popped up on one of my ebook newsletter things. It may have been that my expectations were too high but this didn't live up to the hype for me.

I liked the characters of Eli and Charlie Sister, natural born killers in the old west. The
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Nov 23, 2013 Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Hooked by the title and cover
Recommended to Florence (Lefty) by: michael edwards
What the....really not sure what I just read. Yippie-yi-yo-kaye?
Like the *cover it's edgy, aptly tagged as 'cowboy noir'. Avoid it if you’re looking for a traditional western, no white hats, no riding happily off into the sunset. Same thing if you look for nice characters to bond with. A couple of hired guns Eli and brother Charlie Sisters aren’t particularly likeable unless you have a soft spot for psychopaths, Eli’s border-line and brother Charlie full-blown. Hey, they had a tough childhood.

Richard Derus
This ho-hum review of a ho-hum book got tricked up a bit and stuffed in a corner at Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud.

Oh, and if for some odd reason you have an opinion about my moving reviews off Goodreads, do feel free to keep it to yourself.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Dec 04, 2014 Arah-Lynda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-said
I am so not the target audience for this story.
I mean it’s a western.
Still the cover art kept pulling at me

It’s the 1850’s, gold rush, California
And the Sisters Brothers are two killers for hire,
on the trail; on a job.

And I thoroughly enjoyed it, from the get go.

Charlie Sisters has the lead here, but it is Eli that will take you there.
And tell you all about his horse, poor Tub, and the women he meets along the way.
How he feels; what he wants; how he sees things, love and some alarmingly, g
A-yep. The Western is dead.
Yeah, I'm happy too, because I love stories about the bloody history of the not-so-new world. As much as I love the great Western classics, their time is up. The Western has carried a lot of negative shit in its saddle-bags, shit that needs to be buried with it. The Western began as Historical Fiction, obviously, but it's popularity soon made it a genre all it's own, one especially overloaded with clichés and predictability. It started selling myths as political propa
Oct 11, 2013 Amanda rated it really liked it
Shelves: blog
I like reading about bad people in fiction. And, lest we jump to conclusions, it's not because I'm a bad person myself (at least not in the torture or kill people kind of way; no, the sins in which I dabble are much more pedestrian than that), but it's because I like peering into those dark little corners of their brains. And, what is often the most frightening and fascinating is when I find that, really, they're much more like me than I care to admit.

Take Pulp Fiction, for example, which may b
Megan Baxter
May 19, 2014 Megan Baxter rated it liked it
I love the cover of this book. Simply love it. And I'd hoped that I'd be as excited by the words inside the pages. Unfortunately, not so much. It wasn't bad, it just never quite grabbed me, never convinced me of the genius that existed between the covers that had it nominated for so many awards.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the entire revie
A novel that is as whip-snap sharp and original as the artwork on the cover. Well, I say original, but who am I to judge, as I don't read Westerns and have never read any of the stuff that Mr de Witt is being compared to. I've not read Charles Portis (maybe I should?), although I did sit through the recent Coen Brothers film of True Grit, desperately trying to make out what on earth Jeff Bridges was mumbling about, and not succeeding most of the time. (How a man can win an Oscar for Best Actor w ...more
Sh3lly ✨ Bring on the Weird ✨
1 DEC 2016: $1.99 on Kindle. This was really good, I thought! I recommend!

Review also found at : https://theparanormalpaladin.wordpres...

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
Apr 04, 2013 Shovelmonkey1 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of david milch
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: booker prize nominee
De Witt's offering for the Man Booker 2011 nominations. I've now read nearly all the nominations and am convinced he should have won. This book was placed against Snowdrops, Jamrach's Menagerie, Half Blood Blues, The Sense of an Endingand Pigeon English. The prize went to Barnes for his "not the Turning of the Screw" The Sense of an Ending. It's very difficult to directly compare and contrast such a widely varied set of novels and then pick the best... a bit like arguing which is best, legs or a ...more
May 06, 2011 RandomAnthony rated it really liked it
Patrick deWitt's The Sisters Brothers reads like a novel written by a guy under Faulker and Cormac McCarthy's influence but who dispenses, wisely, with 95% of the deep meaning and sticks with a solid, cinematic storyline instead. That's a good decision. Trust me.

The Sisters Brothers proceeds as if the book should have a whistle-heavy soundtrack for the inevitable film, with the lead roles played by up and coming actors of whom we haven't yet heard. Eli and Charlie Sisters, feared killers for hir
May 29, 2011 Lea rated it really liked it
This is a deceptively simple book. The writing is simple, the chapters are short, on the surface of it the story itself is quite simple. But there are ideas here that run much deeper than what you see on the surface.

Charlie and Eli Sisters are killers, so famous that simply stating their names makes people shake with fear. Charlie is brash and ruthless. Eli, who narrates their tale, is introspective and soft hearted. He's been drawn into this life by his feelings of loyalty and protectiveness t
Feb 19, 2016 Matthias rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Matthias by: Eisnein
Shelves: my-reviews
I'm an only child.

It's true. I'm not bragging, even though the likes of me have inspired policy makers in China to decide there need to be more of the likes of me and less of those brothers and sisters types, and who am I to disagree with Chinese policy makers?
No, but seriously, just trying to show it's not all bad, growing up without brothers or sisters. However, I'm not going to go into detail on all the benefits of being an only child, that will be for some other time. Let's just say that I
Narges Aliyari
Jun 22, 2015 Narges Aliyari rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
میخوام به یه چیزی اعتراف کنم ، من یه عادتهایی توی کتابخونی دارم که بعضی وقتا به نظرم خیلی مسخره است ، مثلا اگه موقع خوندن یه کتاب از داستان خوشم نیاد واسه اینکه از خیر خوندنش نگذرم و نیمه کاره رهاش نکنم و روحیه ام رو واسه ادامه ببرم بالا اون وسطا یه کلک میزنم و میرم سراغ خوندن یه کتاب کم حجم دیگه که فضای ذهنی ام رو عوض کنم، بعضی وقتها هم برعکس واسه بیشتر کردن هیجان خوندن یه کتاب که خیلی تعریفش رو شنیدم قبل از خوندن، یه کتاب دیگه بعنوان دست گرمی میخونم که وقتی رفتم سراغ کتاب مورد نظر قشنگ تشنه تش ...more
Saman Kashi
یه موضوعی که برای من موقع خواندن یک داستان خیلی مهمه و میتونم بگم اولین اولویت و ممیزیم در پسندیدن یک داستانه اینه که نویسنده قبل از اینکه بخواد روشنفکر بازی دربیاره، اظهار فضل بکنه، بخواد تمام مشکلات ابنای بشر رو توی یک داستان و اونم بصورت مکتوب و گفتاری حل بکنه! بشینه مثل بچهی آدم داستانش رو بگه. این داستان باید و باید دارای جذابیت باشه. منه خواننده بتونم رغبت کنم چهار تا خط بیربط ، وسط اون داستان را هم بخونم. نباید فراموش کنیم که ادبیات پیش از آنکه وظایف دیگری رو بر عهده داشته باشه باید دارای ...more
Nov 15, 2011 Mina rated it it was amazing
I get the McCarthy comparisons, but this book has an additional (disturbing) Kill Bill element, with a totally unique narrator who makes the story his own. I guess the "cowboy noir" description is pretty apt. The Sisters Brothers are some badass fabled assassins, but Sister Brother #2 Eli is no hot and gritty cowboy (a la Daniel Craig); rather he is the pudgy sidekick with a conscience who lends his melancholy, earthy-poetic voice to the tale. The writing is terse, and the characters are compell ...more
Jun 18, 2011 Melki rated it it was amazing
Masterful storytelling highlights this deceptively simple tale of the Sisters brothers, two lowly paid assassins on their way to commit murder and collect their wages. While Eli yearns for a different life and serves as the conscience of the duo, Charlie is the trigger finger. He is violent, remorseless and prone to destructive habits. I've read very few westerns. This one puts me in mind of Pete Dexter's "Deadwood." Gritty and realistic - you can smell the mud and blood.
It's sometimes hard to t
Sep 29, 2016 Adina rated it really liked it
Not your classic western novel. Great name, wonderful cover, lovely content, amazing storytelling. Shortlisted for the Booker prize 2011.

I was watching a western comedy with Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson when I thought that I should read a proper western novel at some point. When I was little, I used to enjoy Karl May but that was the last time I immersed myself into this genre. That evening, I started to browse the only western I owned ( if I don't count the Gunslinger) and I found myself in love
May 09, 2012 Melanie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Have to be honest, this book (great premise) was so uneventful for me. Lacked tension, flat characters, some bright moments of sharp dialogue, but too brief to redeem it. Zero sense of place or time. A western?

Not at all what I expected, but I'm so unmoved that I don't even feel cheated. That some reviewers are making favourable Cormac McCarthy & Deadwood comparisons is the only thing about this that raises my pulse.
Jennifer (aka EM)
Apr 24, 2012 Jennifer (aka EM) rated it liked it
Quite an amazing journey of a book. Prior to (or, perhaps, instead of) a review, I point to the cover: it's fantastic. The moon, with the Sisters brothers' heads like dark eyes in a skull - and whose skull is that? Why, it's Shakespeare's, is it not?


Indeed, there is something Shakespearean about this book - in its primal motivations; its themes of guilt, blame and remorse; the thickness of family ties; the inevitable playing out of fate. A tragi-comic morality play - although I have to confess,
I'm not quite sure what I read here;I'll have to file this one under Cutesy or Gimmicky. The author has put some thought into the premise and has really come up with some promising characters in the protagonists, a pair of killers for hire who happen to be on the payroll of a mysterious entity known only as "The Commodore". The mission the brothers have committed to requires them to kill a prospector who has developed a secret formula that enables him to find gold with a minimum of effort. If th ...more
Nadi Ghaffari
Jul 14, 2015 Nadi Ghaffari rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: همه
Recommended to Nadi by: kamran
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cindy Newton
Jun 23, 2016 Cindy Newton rated it really liked it
I'm not a fan of the western (Lonesome Dove excepted), so I was pleasantly surprised to find that I really liked this book. It has a very Coen Brothers/Tarantino feel to it, with it's odd characters and dark humor. Like quite a few of the Coen Brothers' more rural characters, some of these cowboys/pioneers displayed surprisingly well-developed vocabularies, which I find delightful and entertaining.

Set during the Gold Rush in California, I thought it really captured the atmosphere of that time (
K.D. Absolutely
Oct 22, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it liked it
Recommended to K.D. by: Booker 2011 Shortlist
Shelves: booker, humour, western, noir
I just heard that Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel won the 2012 Booker. In the next few weeks, that book along with the nominees will start showing up in our bookstores here in Manila. I'd seen Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil already prior to the announcement but it is still hardcover so it is quite pricey so I resisted. I also thought I'd like to start with the winner and then the runner-ups.

Just like what I did for last year's Booker shortlisted novels and the eventual winner. In fact, last year
Jul 22, 2012 Tfitoby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit, western
Great cover, not so great content.

In the past couple of weeks I have tried reading the Man Booker Prize 2011 shortlisted book Snowdrops and given up after one chapter of mediocre at best writing and found this fellow shortlisted book quite pleasant. Not exactly a glowing commendation for the judges of said prize. I think it's safe to say that neither of these books can be considered important or worthy in the way that other Booker nominees have been.

They say it is a picaresque-noir-western about
An understated and sardonic tale of two gunslinger brothers on a trip from Oregon Territory to California in the 1850’s to complete a contract killing. Charlie is more heartless and loyal to his job, while Eli, the narrator, has growing empathies for the fate of his fellow humans (and his poor horse) and doubts about the life path he is on. As they encounter various dangerous people or ordinary folk along the way, the narrative is compelling in twisting the reader’s emotions to alternate between ...more
Peter Derk
Jun 22, 2011 Peter Derk rated it it was amazing
The Sisters Brothers is so perfect and wonderful that I can’t imagine picking up another book for a while. There’s just no point. Okay, it’s kind of like eating a filet with just the right amount of pink in the center for dinner. You wake up and eventually have to eat something else, but the entire time your mind is on that filet.

The author, Patrick deWitt, is going to be a big deal. A very big deal. If you haven’t picked up his last book, Ablutions, then I suggest you do so immediately. You’ll
The Shayne-Train
Oct 07, 2014 The Shayne-Train rated it it was amazing
Occasionally, you find books that you love, but have NO idea how to review. This book is one of THOSE.

A story of two killer-for-hire brothers in the American Wild West. Yes, it's that. But so, so much more. You truly INHABIT the mind of the narrator, Eli Sisters, in a way that you seldom get to do. You are with him every single step of the way.

Really, one of the highest compliments I can give a novel is this: I wish the main character was real so I could meet him, spend time with him, shake his
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Patrick deWitt was born on Vancouver Island in 1975. He is the author of Help Yourself Help Yourself (2007, Teenage Teardrops), Ablutions (Feb. 09, Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt/Granta), which was named a New York Times Editors' Choice book, and The Sisters Brothers (May 2011, Ecco/House of Anansi). He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and son.
More about Patrick deWitt...

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“The creak of bed springs suffering under the weight of a restless man is as lonely a sound as I know.” 74 likes
“...but I could not sleep without proper covering and spent the rest of the night rewriting lost arguments from my past, altering history so that I emerged victorious.” 71 likes
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