#CBR9 Review #57

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt

The thing I like about being part of two separate book clubs is that you get to read a variety of books that you’d never even heard or consider reading before. The thing I don’t like about belonging to two book clubs is that I spend a chunk of time reading books that I end up having no interest in or disliking. Ultimately, though, it’s not too annoying, because it’s good for me to read books I don’t choose. I’ll be interested in hearing what my community book club has to say about the book I just read.

Patrick DeWitt’s The Sisters Brothers focuses on two brothers: Eli and Charlie Sisters, a pair of hired guns who have been sent to commandeer Hermann Kermit Warm’s secret formula and then kill him for their boss, the Commodore. Told from Eli’s point-of-view, we journey with the Sisters brothers to California and in prospecting wilderness to search their quarry and get rich. Eli’s narration reveals their harrowing past family relationship, their current conflicts as brothers and partners, and their individual ambitions and insecurities.

This book was a really mixed bag for me. I was bored for the first 100 pages, and it took a long time for the plot to come together. There’s a terrific commentary on greed and the illusory nature of the American Dream, but that comes in about 250 pages into the book. That’s a long time for the payoff, and I had to slog through a lot of stuff that just didn’t interest me. I think that part of the problem for me was that the book reminded me a lot of the film Hell or High Water. I know the book came out first, and if I’d read it, I wouldn’t have these comparisons in mind, but because I did, I couldn’t shake the impression. I would rate this a solid 2.5 stars, but I think this is more personal than anything.

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