Join Patrick de Witt to talk about October's Book of the Month, The Sisters Brothers, Tuesday 6 November, 9-10pm

(112 Posts)

Another Booker-shortlisted masterpiece this month. THE SISTERS BROTHERS by Patrick de Witt was a 2011 contender, and the first ever western to make it onto the list. It is set in the 1850s, Gold Rush California, where the famous killers Eli and Charlie Sisters are on a job for the big boss, The Commodore. Eli is not your average hired gun. He unsuccessfully tries dieting, he's evangelical about his new toothpaste, he has complex loyalties to his horse, Tub. He's tenderhearted, protective and philosophical. He also has to watch out for his volatile brother, whose regular bouts of brandy-sickness and violence make their relationship somewhat fraught. But by the end of their madcap roadtrip, a strange kind of honour and truth emerges, far more precious than the gold that bewitches all around them.

If this novel were a movie, it would be directed by the Coen brothers: O Brother Where Art Thou? crossed with True Grit. But the strongest feeling that lingers after the last page is that it is just very much itself: blackly funny, exquisitely voiced, deeply human and completely original.

Our book of the month page has lots more about THE SISTERS BROTHERS and Patrick.

You can get a Kindle edition or a paperback copy of the novel here.

We are thrilled that Patrick will be joining us to discuss the book and answer any questions about THE SISTERS BROTHERS, the Booker and his writing career on Tuesday 6 November, 9-10pm. See you there...

DuchessofMalfi Thu 27-Sep-12 10:41:07

I'm in - already got a copy on my kindle smile

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 28-Sep-12 09:59:21

There are still a few free copies of The Sisters Brothers left (thank you, Granta). It's a great read - fairly hurtles along, has laugh-out-loud scenes but is also tender and philosophical.

ShadeMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 28-Sep-12 15:02:44

All the copies of The Sisters Brothers have now gone.

gazzalw Fri 28-Sep-12 18:29:10

I'm looking forward to reading this very much....

It's quite .................... gruesome!

HipHopOptotomus, the gruesomeness settles down as the book goes along - or maybe I just became desensitised by that stage! I usually can't face any gore or violence, yet this book completely captivated me. Eli's voice becomes more and more moving, so I sort of didn't see the nastiness as I was so focused on him.

Interested to hear if others found it gruesome?

gazzalw Mon 08-Oct-12 12:02:26

Sounds a bit like that Johnny Depp film from about 12 - 15 years ago .....

DuchessofMalfi Mon 08-Oct-12 14:03:18

I'm coming up to half way through and there's been a few stomach churning moments so far. On the whole, though, I like it. Eli comes across as thoughtful, and intelligent and there is kindness hidden in his character, in spite of the acts of violence he commits with his brother Charlie.

Tilly I think it stayed pretty gruesome. The whole matter of the gold etc was horrific.

I didn't 'get' the book while I was reading it. I Love Joe Nesbo (for example) so I'm not shy of quite violent subject matter, however in this book - well perhaps it was the pointlessness of the violence and what it achieved - so depressing. (well all violence is pointless but you get what I mean).

I think I perhaps need a re-read. I found it ultimately a depressing tale that I did not enjoy reading at all. However I did read it, I did finish it, and it has stayed with me, so clearly it has made something of an impact.

It is a gruesome septic stubbed toe of a book.

I did think it would make a marvellous screenplay however.

gazzalw Wed 10-Oct-12 07:37:15

I'm more and more intrigued...

Just got a copy through the door but no email to tell me I won - sounds very 'interesting' need to get some time to read it now!!

Nigella, you beat me to it - was about to post to say Granta put 50 copies in the post on Monday night. So hopefully a few more of you will be hearing a thud on the doormat today...

Sorry to all those who didn't get lucky this time, but hope you have all found a copy - it is a remarkable and rewarding book, and very refreshing.

Looking forward to hearing what you think, keep posting your thoughts throughout the month and we'll gather questions for Patrick as we go.

HipHop, I agree, it reads very like a screenplay, and the author is a screenwriter etc. And the secondary characters are all very cinematic. But for me, Eli had a depth of character that made it become more of a novel, lifted it above the sensational and the violence for violence's sake.

Did you find it funny, as well as depressing? Or not at all?

I felt less depressed by the violence and more depressed by the lust for gold, the overall discarding of dignity that overcame everyone during that Gold Rush era. (Just made me wonder whether nastiness performed in the name of money today is really very different to how it was then - it is just organised by far larger companies and in more insiduous ways. Which is more depressing.)

But I did find a lot of humour and lightness in the book too.

Certainly a book that will provoke a good debate...am intrigued to hear how it affected everyone.

gazzalw Wed 10-Oct-12 13:04:38

One's just dropped through our letterbox just now! It looks quite a quick read so very much looking forward to it as my commute read of the week!

ShellyBobbs Wed 10-Oct-12 13:56:17

Ooooohhhh, I've just received a copy, I'm really, really chuffed and Wednesday's are 'hang around' days for me with kids clubs. Can't wait to get started on it.

I did laugh out loud a couple of times Tilly so yes I found it funny in parts. But the bleakness of life - for the Sisters as well as all the wretched creatures they encountered - well it touched me. And I'm a wimp.

I didn't realist de Witt was a screenwriter - it's certainly a hugely visual book, which I found tough going in places. And yes I did go a little soft on Eli, and I was rooting for him to cut loose.

DuchessofMalfi Wed 10-Oct-12 22:44:34

Well I've just finished. I've changed my mind. I didn't like it. As I read on the violence just got more unpleasant. I didn't desensitize.

I agree with you Hip-hop, septic toe pretty much sums up my opinion too.

Will come back with a question later. <shudder>.

DuchessofMalfi Wed 10-Oct-12 22:47:09

No offence to Patrick DeWitt intended blush.

CockBollocks Thu 11-Oct-12 21:06:06

I got my copy Tuesday. Really looking forward to getting into it.

Oh gosh no blushgrin

daisy4mae Fri 12-Oct-12 23:07:03

I got my free copy the other day (thank you very much Mumsnet!) I've been steadily reading it and whilst, yes, it is a little gruesome at times - I'm thoroughly enjoying it (maybe that speaks volumes about me!)

I've found it a gripping book and I agree that it's very visual. I could imagine this easily being turned into a rather dramatic film.

Parisbanana Mon 15-Oct-12 19:06:10

I read this earlier in the year for my book club and wasn't impressed when it was selected. Never in a million years would I have picked it up in a shop or library. BUT oh my, I loved it. What a read. All I can say is thank goodness for book clubs that make you read things you wouldn't normally choose. I would've missed out on probably my favourite book of the year.

So, no questions spring to mind just now, but just an overwhelming thank you for an eye opening riveting read.

I love it when a book creates such diverse opinions - like The Slap. Looking forward to discussing further but meanwhile...

... it is time to start putting advance questions to the author, so please pop them up here anytime this week and I'll forward them onto Patrick at the weekend.

Looking forward to the Booker tomorrow, wondering if Patrick feeling sympathy jitters for those 6 finalists.

Parrish Mon 15-Oct-12 21:29:59

I could not put this down. Would never have chosen it. Almost vomited at the horse surgery scene. Little House on the Prairie it most definitely ain't! Might be to read that again to calm my shattered nerves!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now