The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt: October 2012 book of the month
We're all about the Booker at the moment. Last month we selected current nominee Hilary Mantel; October's choice is 2011 Booker shortlister The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt.
What is it that makes a Booker book? Possibly the confidence, that strength of voice that means wherever they go, we will wholeheartedly follow. Even on a madcap roadtrip across Gold Rush California in the company of two mercenaries who have a dubious relationship with morality. Godammit, you'll even end up rooting for them.
The Sisters Brothers is narrated by Eli Sisters, who along with his brother Charlie, is 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 in the end, 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.
Book club discussion: Tuesday 6 November, 9-10pm
We're thrilled that Patrick is joining us to discuss his novel on Tues 6 Nov, 9-10pm. If you'd like to get involved in the discussion you can buy a paper copy of The Sisters Borthers here or if you would like to get started right away an e-book version of the novel is available here.
Please feel free to post your comments about the novel on the thread once you've read it, and then come and meet Patrick (virtually) during his live bookclub webchat.
About Patrick deWitt
Patrick is a Canadian novelist and screenwriter. He was born in British Colombia, and has lived in California, Washington and Oregon, where he's currently based with his wife and son. His first novel, Ablutions, was highly acclaimed; The Sisters Brothers won the 2011 Governor General's Literary Award and the Rogers Writer's Trust Fiction Prize and was shortlisted for the 2011 Man Booker Prize.
You can read a more detailed biography of Patrick here.