Posts tagged as westerns

"The Sisters Brothers," from the Notables List

June 16, 2012 by PatLeach

Last week, I finished "The Sisters Brothers" by Patrick DeWitt, a novel from the American Library Association Notable Books List.

Charles and Eli Sisters are hired guns from the Gold Rush era of the 1850s. Eli tells this story of their final job for a man called The Commodore. As the story progresses, Eli makes up his mind to leave the killing business.

I'm trying to find a way to describe the tone of this book--it's picaresque, in introducing a series of odd somewhat shallow characters. It's often droll. And it is full of killing. I had to move my mind into a place where I didn't take all that murder too seriously.

Eli clearly has a bigger heart than his brother. Eli reflects on how he might want to find a woman to marry and love, might want to return to see their mother. Charles seems not to reflect much at all, he thrives on heavy drinking and the adrenaline of taking a good shot.

Why is this notable? DeWitt creates clever scenes and dialogue, and he gives us a whole new sense of the Gold Rush. There's an inherent irony in a hired killer pining for love and a comfortable home. The stark heartlessness of lives lived solely in pursuit of gold remains visible behind the humor. Hired killers see many people face their final moments, DeWitt makes the most of that opportunity.

My reservation is this--I don't think that DeWitt's idea for the Sisters Brothers' story creates enough momentum to propel a whole novel. It'd be a brilliant short story, and perhaps overall more effective as a short story collection. I'm open to the idea that this may simply be a case of not matching my sense of humor. While I finished "The Sisters Brothers," it never deeply resonated with me and seldom had me laughing out loud. And yet, there's something about it that I respect. I expect that I'll recommend this to people who seek something that is unusual, edgy and clever, and that points up people's foibles while it reveals their behavior under pressure.

 

 



Tagged in: fiction, Good Reads, Patrick DeWitt, westerns,
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Gere Books Talk - March 2, 2009, Part 2

October 02, 2009 by Webmaster

"Do You Remember These?" - Part 2


PodcastListen now - 29:23, 13.4 MB

Sandy discusses Max Brand, Victoria Holt, and other authors with multiple pseudonyms.


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Tagged in: podcasts, books, booktalk, Books Talk, booktalks, westerns, Max Brand, Victoria Holt, Jean Plaidy, Philippa Carr, Eleanor Hibbert,
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Gere Books Talk - March 2, 2009, Part 1

September 18, 2009 by Webmaster

"Do You Remember These?" - Part 1


PodcastListen now - 37:06, 16.9 MB

Sandy discusses:

Dr. Seuss and Mr. Geisel by Judith Morgan, and the authors Georgette Heyer and Zane Grey.


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Tagged in: podcasts, books, booktalk, Books Talk, booktalks, Seuss, Dr. Seuss, romances, westerns, Zane Grey, Georgette Heyer,
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'Casting About, Program 10

August 01, 2008 by Webmaster
The Last Kashmiri Rose, Organize Your Corpses, and Holmes On the Range
PodcastListen now - 14:20, 6.6 MB

Scott, Donna, and Marcy discuss these books:

The Last Kashmiri Rose by Barbara Cleverly
Organize Your Corpses by Mary Jane Maffini
Holmes On the Range by Steve Hockensmith




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Tagged in: podcast, podcasts, casting about, booktalks, book talks, Books Talk, books, mystery, mysteries, western, westerns, Sherlock Holmes,
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