Hired guns of the old West

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick
DeWitt
My first book of the fall Read-a-Thon, and it was a doozy.
Ann of Books on the Nightstand positively raved about this book,
which is what helped me get past a couple of things that otherwise would’ve prevented
me from reading it: This is historical fiction, and it’s got a horrible cover.
Yes, I know I’m doing that Historical Fiction reading challenge,
but that’s only because I’m in a genre study these days, so I’m reading the
stuff by prescription already. Otherwise, I don’t really favor it.
Then a book like this comes along, and I have to wonder if a
re-think is in order.
The Sisters brothers are hired killers, and these dudes kill
people the way the rest of us swat mosquitoes: without mercy and without remorse.
…Until Eli, who narrates the story, starts to think he’s ready to
be All Done with killing. He’s kinda thinking he’d like to open a trading post. 
Well, his brother Charlie doesn’t plan to quit his day job anytime soon, but
he’s OK with Eli taking off as soon as they finish their current job. And of
course, the current job’s a nightmare and a half.
Plenty of things about this book put me in mind of True Grit, and that’s high praise. It’s a Western that’s got all kinds of good stuff going on. The
only thing that’s missing is the tough girl character; this book’s mainly
grown-up boys.
And they are boys.
Here’s evidence:
“‘What’s that? You’re not smiling, are you? We’re in a quarrel and
you mustn’t under any circumstances smile.’ I was not smiling, but then began
to, slightly. ‘No,’ said Charlie, ‘you mustn’t smile when quarreling. It’s
wrong, and I dare say you know it’s wrong. You must stew and hate and revisit
all the slights I offered you in childhood.’” (p. 46)
Guys, that’s funny. The
tone of the whole book is like that, which, combined with the endless string of
killings, is what makes it possible/desirable to read this book all in one big
gulp. 

by

Reader, librarian, & happy little geek

6 thoughts on “Hired guns of the old West

  1. Oh Unruly — The siren call was too strong. I've got it on my Kindle now. Read a few pages last night. It is like True Grit — the plain-spoken voice with the digressions. Blissful sigh. Plus, I see that DeWitt was born in Canada, so I can count this for the Canadian Challenge. Blissful sigh again.

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