The Sisters Brothers

Patrick deWitt

Published: 5 January 2012
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 336 pages
ISBN: 9781847083197

Other Editions


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Published: 27 October 2011
Paperback, A Format
111x178mm, 336 pages
ISBN: 9781847086006

Ebook Available

About the author

Image of Patrick deWitt

Patrick Dewitt's writing has appeared in several US magazines and anthologies. His first novel, Ablutions, was published by Granta Books in 2009. He had previously published a short book of random writings and bad advice, Help Yourself Help Yourself. His second novel, The Sisters Brothers won the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, the Govenor General Literary Award and was shortlisted for the 2011 Man Booker Prize. He lives in Portland, Oregon. More about the author


‘[It] has a lovely fragility and an emotional core that rises above its clever premise and style’ Daniel Handler



‘A boldly eloquent adventure and a novel about a man trying to live a better life’

‘A grippingly propulsive yarn set in the gold-rush era of the American West and flecked through with dark humour’

‘A masterclass on the twists of the mind and heart’

‘A rip-roaring romp around the Wild West... deWitt is a proper American novelist who is well on the way to greatness’

‘A rip-roaring, gun-slinging gallop through 19th Century America ... Warm, darkly comic and thrillingly adventurous, you won't be able to put this down’ Sara Montgomery, head of Guardian Books

‘A stylistically impressive, darkly comic reworking of the traditional western in Patrick deWitt's Booker-shortlisted story of money revenge and morality’

‘A superb Western mixed with profound life lessons’ Doc Brown interview

‘A western that reads like Cormac McCarthy with a better sense of humour’

‘A witty noir version of Don Quixote... a blackly comic fable about the usual wild west themes: emptiness, loneliness and the hollow lure of gold’

‘An enjoyable read, and its overall strangeness seems to tease the reader into seeking deeper meanings’ Angus Clarke

‘An unexpected pleasure... It has the stripped power of a fable, yet derives its persuasiveness from the voice of the narrator’ Books of the Year

‘Blackly hilarious’

‘Bold and beautifully simple ... it is intermittently moving, consistently very funny, and above all, original’ AD Miller

‘Confirms deWitt as one of the most talented young writers around’

‘deWitt's inspired, many-layered yarn about loneliness, friendship and love is as entertaining and as stylistically accomplished as it is deeply moving’ Eileen Battersby

‘deWitt's playful, almost surreal take on the classic western follows two violent brothers as they wreak havoc during the 1850s goldrush’

‘Few narrators this year have been funnier than Eli, one half of Patrick deWitt's eponymous duo The Sisters Brothers. His drawling, dark, laconic and heartbreaking voice turns a wry Western into a work of great strangeness and verve’

‘Gripping and darkly humorous, the deadpan writing style is a joy and the is sharp’

‘I loved it so much, I read it twice! It's funny as well as poignant. It's so beautiful and fascinating. I adored it’ Caroline Quentin

‘I read this after being shortlisted along with Patrick for the Man Booker prize, and for my money it would have been a worthy winner ... this story of a pair of sibling killers chasing down their fate crackles with dry wit, its brutal violence studded with moments of heartbreaking humanity. In Eli Sisters, DeWitt creates a narrator who lives and breathes; a monster with whom the reader sympathises, a lost soul searching for virtue in the compassionless world of gold rushes and gunfights. A wise, funny, startling book about dreams both noble and ragged, and of the lengths we'll go to fulfil them’ Stephen Kelman

‘If Cormac McCarthy had a sense of humor, he might have concocted a story like Patrick DeWitt's bloody, darkly funny western The Sisters Brothers... [DeWitt has] a skillfully polished voice and a penchant for gleefully looking under bloody bandages. [It's] smooth and seamless, shot through with dark humor, pared and antique without being Baroque.’

‘It's fantastic, you must read it ... it's one of those books that just grabs you, its so beautiful and funny and spare’ Meera Syal

‘One of the finest novels I've read in ages and paints the colours of the Wild West as beautifully as a Sergio Leone film’

‘One of the most extraordinary books I've ever read’ Amanda Ross

‘Patrick deWitt's superb second novel was deservedly shortlisted for last year's Man Booker prize. It's highly original and darkly comic, and has the offbeat quality of a Coen brothers film’ Simon Shaw

‘So good, so funny and so sad’

‘The adventure is narrated in deadpan style by Eli, who is frequently driven to despair by the activities of his elder brother ... Eli emerges as a complex figure; a good man driven to do bad things. And you know you're absorbed in a true western when you find yourself shedding a tear at the death of his horse'’ Alfred Hickling

‘The language is extraordinarily good, very funny and eloquent’ Caroline Quentin

‘The sharpest novel published this year was The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt. Like Flannery O'Connor shot through with the Coen brothers, it was a tonic dash of the cowboy surreal and I loved it.’ Andrew O’Hagan

‘This Booker-shortlisted novel is a playful often surreal take on the classic western, following two homicidal brothers as they hunt for a man named Hermann during the 1850s gold rush’

‘This novel is about two killer hitmen who you actually find yourself falling in love with’

‘This tale of mercenary brothers is often touching, as the gentler of the two men, Eli Sisters, is really searching for love. DeWitt slow his narrative down stylistically but gives his dubious protagonists an engaging enough picaresque journey’ Lesley McDowell

‘Unsettling, compelling and deeply strange... this book explores a world in which civilisation, as we know it, has not yet emerged. It has much to say about the business of being human’

‘We all loved this of the best books ever on the bookclub.’

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