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The Sisters Brothers

Written by Patrick DeWitt

Series Title: Anansi Book Club Editions

  • 344 Pages
  • 9781770890329
  • FICTION / Literary



Publication Date October 15, 2011

Winner of the Governor General's Award for Fiction, the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, the Prix des libraires du Quebec and the Stephen Leacock Medal. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and the Walter Scott Prize.

Hermann Kermit Warm is going to die: Eli and Charlie Sisters can be counted on for that. Though Eli has never shared his brother’s penchant for whiskey and killing, he’s never known anything else. On the road to Warm’s gold-mining claim outside San Francisco -- and from the back of his long-suffering one-eyed horse -- Eli struggles to make sense of his life without abandoning the job he's sworn to do.

Patrick DeWitt, acclaimed author of Ablutions, doffs his hat to the classic Western, and then transforms it into a comic tour-de-force with an unforgettable narrative voice that captures all the absurdity, melancholy, and grit of the West -- and of these two brothers, bound to each other by blood and scars and love.

Winner of the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize 2011

Winner of the Governor General's Literary Award: Fiction 2011

Winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Book Award 2012

Winner of the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal 2012

Winner of the Oregon Book Awards: Ken Kesey Award for Fiction 2012

Winner of the CBA Libris Award: Fiction Book of the Year 2012

Winner of the Prix des libraires du Quebec 2013

Short-listed for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2011

Short-listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize 2011

Selected for the Best Books: Editors' Pick 2011

Selected for the Best Books: Canadian Fiction 2011

Selected for the Publishers Weekly Best Book 2011

Selected for the Globe and Mail Top 100 Book 2011

Selected for the Quill and Quire Book of the Year 2011

Selected for the Toronto Star Reviewers' Top 100 Books 2011

Selected for the Maclean's Magazine Best Books 2011

Short-listed for the CBC Bookie Awards: Literary Fiction 2012

Short-listed for the Walter Scott Prize 2012

Short-listed for the CBA Libris Award: Author of the Year 2012

Long-listed for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2013

Short-listed for the Google Play International Author of the Year 2012


Patrick DeWitt

Patrick deWitt was born on Vancouver Island in 1975. He is the author of two critically acclaimed novels: Ablutions and The Sisters Brothers, which won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and the Stephen Leacock Medal, and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Scotiabank Giller Prize. He lives in Portland, Oregon.


"[Patrick] DeWitt has produced a genre-bending frontier saga that is exciting, funny, and perhaps unexpectedly, moving." Publishers Weekly

". . . a lushly voiced picaresque story . . . It's a kind of True Grit told by Tom Waits." Esquire

". . . smooth and seamless, shot through with dark humor . . . as easy to slip into as the old HBO series 'Deadwood.'" LA Times

"I doubt very much I'll read a funnier, more original book than this picaresque, Wild West tale . . . a terrifically spun yarn . . . masterfully strange and wonderful . . ." Toronto Star

". . . cinematic, wry and mannered . . . DeWitt['s] ability to distill an image with a couple of well-chosen words and the precision and intensity of his language gives [The] Sisters [Brothers] a dreamlike aura." Philadelphia City Paper

". . . imaginative and ebullient . . . revels in the hilarious life and times of two gunslingers, Eli and Charlie Sisters." Boston Globe

". . . gory, mesmerizing . . . carries a strong echo of Pulp Fiction . . . seduces us to its characters, and draws us on the strength of deWitt's subtle, nothing-wasted prose." Cleveland Plain Dealer

". . . a witty noir version of Don Quixote . . . hugely entertaining." Financial Times

"Violent, funny and strangely touching, [The Sisters Brothers is] destined for a spot on many best-of-2011 lists." Edmonton Journal

". . . [an] unsettling, compelling and deeply strange picaresque novel." Independent

". . . spirited and often humorous . . . Patrick deWitt's picaresque narrative works with a wink and a nod of reverence, squaring with recent revivals of the Western in popular culture, namely HBO's Deadwood." Oregonian

"The Sisters Brothers has a cadence and flow to its prose and the reader can almost hear Eli's laconic narration as the pages turn . . . here is a hardcover that practically holds a Colt to your head and growls: read me." Winnipeg Review

"The Sisters Brothers is a bloody, nightmarish frontier road trip that seems at times like something out of Cormac McCarthy, yet somehow merges laughter and hope with suffering, death and betrayal. [...] Like an alchemist, deWitt has refined and purified the base metals of black comedy and the western to produce literary gold." Winnipeg Free Press

"DeWitt has invigorated [the] well-worn path [of the classic Western] with wit, style, and imagination." New West

". . . wryly comic, heartbreakingly sentimental, and immensely likable . . ." Georgia Straight

". . . edgy and unyielding . . . The Sisters Brothers gives readers a sense of adventure without ever having to stare down the barrel of a gun." Weekender

"There is something irresistibly cinematic about this quirky tale, a Coen brothers-style strangeness that paradoxically celebrates an unlikely humanity." Edmonton Journal

"So subtle is deWitt's prose, so slyly note-perfect his rendition of Eli's voice in all its earnestly charming 19th-century syntax, and so compulsively readable his bleakly funny western noir story, that readers will stick by Eli even as he grinds his heel into the shattered skull of an already dead prospector." Maclean's

". . . original, entrancing and entertaining . . ." Denver Post

"In The Sisters Brothers, a diabolical combination of Laurel and Hardy and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (with a touch of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, just to emphasise the high literary stakes) deWitt has ensured another unforgettable pair their place in fictive lore." Telegraph

"[Patrick deWitt] frequently crosses into comic territory to produce a story that's weirdly funny, startlingly violent and steeped in sadness." Washington Post

". . . darkly hilarious . . . riveting . . . deWitt welcomingly reimagines the [Western] genre." ZYZZYVA

"Wandering his Western landscape with the cool confidence of a practiced pistoleer, deWitt's steady hand belies a hair trigger, a poet's heart and an acute sense of gallows humor . . . It's easy to imagine John C. Reilly - who is set to star in the film version of the book - lumbering through this breezy, pitch-black comedy's cinematic scenes." Time Out New York

". . . fresh, hilariously anti-heroic, often genuinely chilling, and relentlessly compelling. Yes, this is a mighty fine read, and deWitt a mighty fine writer." National Post

". . . hilarious, dark, twisted and compelling." Canada Arts Connect Magazine

"Bursting with vitality and driven along by a terrific pulpy energy, The Sisters Brothers is the kind of book you may well end up wholeheartedly recommending to friends." Herald Scotland

"The Sisters Brothers is a bold, original and powerfully compelling work, grounded in well-drawn characters and a firm hold on narrative. When they say “They don’t write em like that anymore,” they’re wrong." Globe and Mail

". . . comic . . . engaging . . . the brothers' poetic banter and the book’s bracing bursts of violence keep this campfire yarn pulled taut." Onion AV Club

". . . a book that’s both a heck of a lot of fun to read and surprisingly compelling when it ends -- one that both your hipster brother and your straight-arrow dad will get a kick out of." Wisconsin Capital-Times

"Patrick deWitt has written an Old West tale that conjures up the colourful images of a spaghetti western filled with stark realism, eccentric characters and black humour . . . If you’re looking for an unforgettable western, grab this one." Monday Magazine

"America seems anything but beautiful in Patrick DeWitt’s quirky and ultimately touching new novel The Sisters Brothers." Anniston Star

"[Patrick deWitt] has taken the typical saga and, with laser-sharp prose, masterful storytelling, and an eccentrically perfect combination of humor, violence, lust, and pathos, has turned it completely upside-down. Never has the Old West seemed so simultaneously and page-turningly beautiful, tragic, and comedic, or a cowboy so delightfully neurotic." Charlotte Viewpoint

". . . gritty . . . deadpan . . . very comedic . . . opens new doors in the imagination." New York Times Book Review

"Fully invested, DeWitt is a hilarious, wry wordsmith and a masterful storyteller. The Sisters Brothers, with its sharp edges and instinctive compassion, is far from historical displacement or genre escapism. It is art worthy of the status, regardless of context or -ism." Rover Arts