The Sisters Brothers book summary. Information about the book The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt, information about the book’s concept, achievements and characters, and its story (summary).
The Sisters Brothers is a novel by Canadian author Patrick deWitt, published in 2011. It is a Western-style novel set in the 1850s during the California Gold Rush, and follows the story of two brothers, Eli and Charlie Sisters, who are hired to kill a man named Hermann Kermit Warm. The novel explores themes of violence, loyalty, and the human condition through the eyes of the two brothers, as they confront the realities of their chosen profession and the changing world around them. The book was well received critically and won the 2011 Governor General’s Award for English language fiction in Canada, as well as being shortlisted for the 2011 Man Booker Prize. It has since been adapted into a film directed by Jacques Audiard, released in 2018.
The Sisters Brothers Book Summary
The Sisters Brothers is a novel set in the 1850s during the California Gold Rush. The story follows the two brothers, Eli and Charlie Sisters, who work as hired guns for a man named the Commodore. They are known for their ruthless efficiency and have a reputation for being deadly and feared.
The Commodore sends the brothers on a mission to kill a man named Hermann Kermit Warm, who has developed a chemical formula that can detect gold in water. The formula could make the Commodore very wealthy, and he wants to ensure that he is the only one who has access to it. The brothers set out on a long and arduous journey from Oregon City to San Francisco, encountering a variety of obstacles along the way.
As they travel, the brothers confront their own moral conflicts and question the purpose of their violent profession. Eli, the younger of the two, begins to feel a sense of guilt and remorse for the violence he has committed. Charlie, the elder brother, is more steadfast in his loyalty to the Commodore and the money he earns from killing.
During their journey, the brothers encounter various characters, including a gold prospector named Morris, who is also on the hunt for Hermann Kermit Warm. Morris offers to team up with the brothers to find Warm, and they begrudgingly accept his offer.
When they finally catch up to Warm, they find him with a group of people who are on their way to establish a utopian community. Warm and his partner, a former slave named John Morris, have decided to use the chemical formula to make enough money to start their community.
Eli, who has become disillusioned with his violent way of life, is drawn to the idea of the utopian community and begins to question the purpose of killing Warm. Charlie, on the other hand, remains steadfast in his mission and sees the community as a threat to the Commodore’s plan.
In the end, the brothers must make a choice between loyalty to their employer and their own sense of morality. The novel explores themes of violence, loyalty, and the human condition, and ends with a poignant and unexpected conclusion.
The conception of The Sisters Brothers novel began when author Patrick deWitt decided to write a book set in the American West. He wanted to write a story that explored the theme of violence and its effects on those who perpetrate it. He also wanted to subvert the traditional Western genre, which often glorifies violence and presents a simplified view of the world.
In an interview with The Guardian, deWitt stated that he was inspired by the films of the Coen Brothers and their use of violence as a storytelling device. He also drew inspiration from classic Western novels such as Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry and Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy.
The idea for the story came to deWitt while he was living in a cabin in the woods of Oregon. He imagined two brothers who were hired guns and began to develop their characters and the world they inhabited. He chose the Gold Rush era as the backdrop for the story because he found it to be a time of great upheaval and change, where people were pursuing their dreams and risking everything to strike it rich.
DeWitt began writing the novel in 2009 and completed it within a year. The book was well received critically and went on to win several awards, including the Governor General’s Award for English language fiction in Canada and being shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. The novel’s success led to its adaptation into a film in 2018, directed by Jacques Audiard and starring John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix as the Sisters Brothers.
The Sisters Brothers was generally well-received by critics and readers alike. The novel won the 2011 Governor General’s Award for English language fiction in Canada, as well as being shortlisted for the 2011 Man Booker Prize. It was also a finalist for the 2012 Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction.
The novel was praised for its engaging characters and its subversion of the traditional Western genre. Critics appreciated deWitt’s use of dark humor to address weighty themes such as violence, loyalty, and the human condition. The New York Times Book Review called the novel “a picaresque Western with a difference,” and The Guardian praised it as “an absurdly readable, beautifully plotted novel.”
Some critics did note that the novel’s violence may be too graphic or disturbing for some readers, but most agreed that it was integral to the story and handled with sensitivity. The book’s success led to its adaptation into a film in 2018, which was also generally well-received by critics.
Overall, The Sisters Brothers was seen as a refreshing take on the Western genre and a compelling exploration of the complexities of human nature.