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Patrick deWitt

Autor(a) de The Sisters Brothers

8+ Works 6,944 Membros 468 Críticas 4 Favorited

About the Author

Image credit: photo:colmangetty

Obras por Patrick deWitt

The Sisters Brothers (2011) 4,268 exemplares
French Exit (2018) 840 exemplares
Undermajordomo Minor (2015) 825 exemplares
The Librarianist (2023) 610 exemplares
Ablutions (2009) 381 exemplares
The Bastard (2016) 10 exemplares
L'uomo che amava i libri (2023) 1 exemplar

Associated Works

The Sisters Brothers [2018 film] (2019) — Original book — 39 exemplares
Electric Literature No. 3 (2010) — Contribuidor — 10 exemplares
Electric Literature No. 4 (2010) — Contribuidor — 7 exemplares


Conhecimento Comum



The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt em Booker Prize (Setembro 2013)


Like 4.5 stars but only because it didn't stir my heart. I loved how writing is straightforward but also honest and deep, but not pretentiously deep. Just real. Partway through I remembered I'd seen the movie and so knew a little of what would happen but not all of it, and that was perfect.
RaynaPolsky | 313 outras críticas | Apr 23, 2024 |
Charlie and Eli Sisters are well-known killers for hire. The novel begins as they are about to embark on another assignment from “the Commodore”, a wealthy man with a far-reaching domain over which he exerts brutal control. The Sisters brothers’ journey starts and ends in Oregon City and takes them to the California gold fields in and around San Francisco. Along the way we meet other characters that pass through their lives leaving impressions both inconsequential and profound.

Not a western, though it is set in the western US in 1851; not a morality tale, though it tells of men going through hardships and becoming profoundly changed by the events; The Sisters Brothers is a Fable about how our nature determines our choices and how our choices impact our nature.

There is no happy ending, but where the narrator is at the end of the novel is at least acceptable. The book is written in the first person, as if an excerpt from Eli’s journal, reflecting back on a life-changing time.

The book itself is broken up into three Parts, and within those parts, chapters that can be as short as two pages. This layout mirrors the compartmentalization of incidents and bluntness of the observations, as voiced by Eli. He is not an overly educated man, yet he is a thoughtful one, and begins to allow himself a more detailed, richer internal dialogue as their journey progresses. This is the gift of the various people and incidents scattered through the novel. The characters each leave their mark on Eli, either in giving him a new thought, a different perspective, or a counterpoint to reflect on. As Eli grows in his inner self, so does his observations become deeper and more considered.

The brothers are comfortable in each other's company, speaking only when necessary. Charlie, as the eldest, is in charge. Eli, as the subordinate, has learned to read Charlie’s looks and gestures. Thus words are used sparingly; a shared look can convey all that is necessary. The slow, measured pace of the writing in the first half of the book mirrors the plodding rhythm of their horses as they ride south to California. The earnest documentation of the mundane tasks of day-to-day life (washing, eating, setting up camp, going to the toilet) reflects the concentration with which Eli deals with each new event. I will concede that this attention to detail is less welcome during a gory section towards the end of the book.

Throughout the novel we are presented with the different philosophies of the two brothers as they confront challenges on their journey. Charlie is used to getting his way, and backing that up with a gun, if necessary; Eli is content having once given his opinion, to back up his brother, even if he disagrees with Charlie’s plan. Eli’s loyalty is clear and unconditional.

One thing readers will notice is the perceived contradictions in Eli’s recollections: he declares that he doesn’t think of or care very much for someone or something and then takes actions that indicate empathy or feelings for them. He openly acknowledges that he does not know why he is prompted to do this. This is true when dealing both with his horses and the people he meets in the various towns the brothers pass through. It comes into particular focus when they finally meet up with their quarry, Mr. Hermann Warm.

The author gives plenty of examples throughout the journey of how their contrasting philosophies play out. There are two speeches that stick out in particular: one by Mr. Warm, where he talks about what it is to be a good man (strength); and one by the Commodore, rehearsing a speech he is to give, on what makes a man great (power). The crux of the book could be said to lie in the comparison of these two points of view.

Mr. Warm: “Most people are chained to their own fear and stupidity and haven’t the sense to level a cold eye at just what is wrong with their lives. Most people will continue on, dissatisfied but never attempting to understand why, or how they might change things for the better, and they die with nothing in their hearts but dirt and old, thin blood – weak blood, diluted – and their memories aren’t worth a goddammed thing, you will see what I mean.” (p.295)

He goes on to say that a good man is one who reviews his life with a clear eye and acts to improve it and himself.

The Commodore: After dismissing wealth, strength of character, control over one’s temper, and fervent worship of God, he asserts: “A great man is one who can pinpoint a vacuity in the material world and inject into this blank space an essence of himself! A great man is one who can create good fortune in a place where there previously was none through sheer force of will! …one who makes something from nothing…and the world around you…it is just that – nothing!” (p. 317)

Issues of loyalty, responsibility to one’s own moral code, and the question of what it means to be a good man are themes in this book. Nestled among the linear progression of Eli’s observations are spurs of philosophical ruminations and, in two cases, potentially prophetic dreams (each called an “Intermission”). These indirectly inform Eli’s subsequent actions when, at a crucial point, he is confronted with the choice of supporting Charlie’s position or doing what he feels is right.

Eli starts as just another bloodless killer and, through our view of him through his writing, evolves in our eyes into a gritty anti-hero. The spare language (spoken) is contrasted with the considered descriptions (eloquent) of Eli’s inner thoughts. Eli describes the rough justice and the harsh necessities of frontier life, at the time, in a deadpan way, as if itemizing the stock in a trading post.

Several book reviews have cited the comedy in the book: I found nothing funny at any point. Poignant, ironic, sad, moving – yes; comic, no.

The writing style is fresh, well-written in a slightly stilted argot, and is a fast read.

… (mais)
Dorothy2012 | 313 outras críticas | Apr 22, 2024 |
The writing style was engaging and appropriate for the story. I had to force myself to finish it.
bcrowl399 | 313 outras críticas | Apr 17, 2024 |
At first I was prepared to be charmed by this whimsical account of the life and times of Bob Comet. A misfit at school, he became a librarian - of course he did. Then he continued - quite contentedly - his largely friendless existence, living in the house where he'd been born, now his alone since his mother's death. He meets a young woman - also a social misfit, completely under her father's thumb - at the library. Reader, he marries her. At about this time, he also comes across the man who becomes his only male friend, and - no, spoiler alert. We are introduced to Bob at the point when he's long been separated from his wife. And, so far so good. But we plunge back into his younger life and the book loses its way, especially when we spend far too long in the time when he ran away from home as an eleven year old. It's not hugely relevant to the story or to the man he became. A bit of a curate's egg of a book then. Good in parts. But I'm not encouraged to read more work by deWitt.… (mais)
Margaret09 | 36 outras críticas | Apr 15, 2024 |



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Associated Authors

Philippe Aronson Traduction, Translator
Emmanuelle Aronson Traduction, Translator
Dan Stiles Cover artist
Simon Prebble Narrator
Sophie Voillot Translator
Halimah Marcus Introduction


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