This is the first time I’ve ever written a book review, so bear with me here.
I recently finished reading The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt. It’s a western novel, insasmuch as it takes place on the West Coast. There is no Louis L’amour stagecoach robbing here; this is a plodding and methodical read of deliberate action and thoughtless cruelty.
The Sisters brothers, Charlie and Eli, and sent on a mission by the Commodore, an Oregon crime lord (say that three times without laughing) who has been wronged by a man named Warm(?). Charlie is the tough one, Eli is the thoughtful one. Anyhoo, The Sisters brothers trek their way down the coast, basically acting like pricks the whole way, robbing and killing with reckless abandon.
They eventually find Warm, just outside of San Francisco, and learn that he has discovered a way to easily find gold in rivers. He has concocted a solution, that when poured into a river, causes the gold in the rocks to glow, thus making for easy pickings. Although it turns out the chemical solution is deadly caustic. And I looked it up; there is no known way to do this. Patrick deWitt is taking serious liberties with chemistry.
The book has some action, but is basically more of a character study. Much of the book is comprised of the main characters talking and thinking about themselves, and it’s very introspective. Don’t get me wrong; this is a good book, but if you are looking a a shoot-em-up western, Unforgiven style, you might want to keep moving on.
I understand it’s going to be a movie, coming out very soon, starring Donnie Darko, River Phoenix’s brother, the guy who backs up Will Ferrell, and some other guy. It will be interesting to see how it translates to the big screen.
If you are looking for brainless western action, this is not the book for you. If you are looking for well-done, in-depth, character development, this is DEFINITELY the book for you. I enjoyed reading it.
That’s all for now. Thanks!