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The Sisters Brothers

por Patrick deWitt

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

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4,2793152,754 (3.87)1 / 707
When a frontier baron known as the Commodore orders Charlie and Eli Sisters, his hired gunslingers, to track down and kill a prospector named Herman Kermit Warm, the brothers journey from Oregon to San Francisco, and eventually to Warm's claim in the Sierra foothills, running into a witch, a bear, a dead Indian, a parlor of drunken floozies, and a gang of murderous fur trappers.… (mais)
Adicionado recentemente porIrinna55, Wuayra, Abcdarian, milo13, AMAEB, ipsoivan, biblioteca privada, pbevan
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 Booker Prize: The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt25 não lido / 25rudder, Setembro 2013

» Ver também 707 menções

Inglês (305)  Francês (3)  Holandês (2)  Espanhol (1)  Dinamarquês (1)  Italiano (1)  Todas as línguas (313)
Mostrando 1-5 de 313 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Another book from the big awards lists; I begin to think such books are mostly distinguished by being unusual rather than being enjoyable. The supposed hilarity escaped me, the characters were unappealing, and the plot was stupid. 1-1/2 stars. ( )
  Abcdarian | May 18, 2024 |
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 | 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.

Recommended. ( )
  Dorothy2012 | Apr 22, 2024 |
The writing style was engaging and appropriate for the story. I had to force myself to finish it. ( )
  bcrowl399 | Apr 17, 2024 |
I don't get it. best part of this book was the cover. ( )
  hmonkeyreads | Jan 25, 2024 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 313 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Sometimes, a novel is like a train: the first chapter is a comfortable seat in an attractive carriage,and the narrative speeds up. But there are other sorts of trains, and other sorts of novels. They rush by in the dark; passengers framed in the lighted windows are smiling and enjoying themselves. You aren't a passenger, you don't care about that destination, and the whole train rumbles on without you.
adicionada por geocroc | editarThe Guardian, Jane Smiley (Jul 15, 2011)
 
Much has been made, over the last few decades, about the death of the western as a genre. All this talk, however, seems to overlook a single, crucial point: the western was never just a genre....DeWitt not only plays the western straight, he draws from the best. Written with the parsed force of the best of Elmore Leonard, DeWitt’s closest CanLit antecedent seems to be Michael Ondaatje’s The Collected Works of Billy the Kid. The influence comes through not only in his attention to every word, every detail, but also in the deadpan, unflinching depiction of violence, reality elevated almost to the level of ridiculousness...Despite being deliberately and effectively part of a tradition (one can imagine it being written and read a hundred years ago, with a few caveats), 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.
adicionada por geocroc | editarThe Globe and Mail, Robert Wiersema (Jun 24, 2011)
 
Because rather than concerning himself with showboating his period-specific research, deWitt has deliberately flouted the rules of straight-laced historical realism here, to stunning effect. And most importantly, what he does get right are the flawed and jagged hearts of his characters, which is all the real this reviewer needs....What Western is real anyway? Aren’t they all revisions and stylizations of the past? From the kindergarten morals and the ridiculous bloodlessness of Hollywood Westerns, to Louis L’Amour’s pat Harlequin Romances for men, to the populist machismo of spaghetti Westerns and their impossibly slow gun duels, the genre has never registered very high on the reality scale.....The overall effect is fresh, hilariously anti-heroic, often genuinely chilling, and relentlessly compelling. Yes, this is a mighty fine read, and deWitt a mighty fine writer.
adicionada por geocroc | editarThe National Post, Michael Christie (May 26, 2011)
 
There never was a more engaging pair of psychopaths than Charlie and Eli Sisters, two brothers who kill for hire—and for necessity, and sometimes for the pure, amusing hell of it....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.
adicionada por geocroc | editarMacLeans Magazine, Brian Bethune (May 26, 2011)
 
Nothing in Patrick deWitt’s first novel, Ablutions, a laconic barfly’s lament for a dysfunctional life, could prepare you for his second, a triumphantly dark, comic anti-western; apart, that is, from the same devastating sense of confidence and glittering prose. ...The writing is superb, with each brief chapter a separate tale in itself, relayed in Eli’s aphoristic fashion. The scope is both cinematic and schematic, with a swaggering, poetic feel reminiscent of a Bob Dylan lyric, while the author retains gleefully taut control of the overall structure. ...
adicionada por geocroc | editarThe Telegraph, Catherine Taylor (May 20, 2011)
 

» Adicionar outros autores (3 possíveis)

Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Patrick deWittautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Aronson, EmmanuelleTraductionautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Aronson, PhilippeTraductionautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Chong, Suet YeeDesignerautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Stiles, DanArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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Voor mijn moeder
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I was sitting outside the Commodore's mansion, waiting for my brother Charlie to come out with news of the job.
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We can all of us be hurt, and no one is exclusively safe from worry and sadness.
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Here is another miserable mental image I will have to catalog and make room for.
To me, luck was something you either earned or invented through strength of character. You had to come by it honestly; you could not trick or bluff your way into it.
What would the world be, I thought, without money hung around our necks, hung around our very souls?
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When a frontier baron known as the Commodore orders Charlie and Eli Sisters, his hired gunslingers, to track down and kill a prospector named Herman Kermit Warm, the brothers journey from Oregon to San Francisco, and eventually to Warm's claim in the Sierra foothills, running into a witch, a bear, a dead Indian, a parlor of drunken floozies, and a gang of murderous fur trappers.

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