When Eli and Charlie Sisters — the titular brothers — are hired to track down and kill a man named Hermann Kermit Warm, they set out to travel south from Oregon to California. As they guide their horses through mountains and forests and towns, the impending murder begins to weigh on Eli, and his misgivings only increase once they meet the elusive and eccentric Mr. Warm.
By turns funny and contemplative, Eli’s internal journey is set against the lush landscape of 1850s California gold country. Written in vivid detail and with biting wit, The Sisters Brothers transports its readers to the gritty reality of everyday life on the frontier.
“We headed south. The banks were sandy but hard packed and we rode at an easy pace on opposite sides of the stream. The sun pushed through the tops of the trees and warmed our faces; the water was translucent and three-foot trout strolled upriver, or hung in the current, lazy and fat. Charlie called over to say he was impressed with California, that there was something in the air, a fortuitous energy, was the phrase he used. I did not feel this but understood what he meant. It was the thought that something as scenic as this running water might offer you not only aesthetic solace but also golden riches; the thought that the earth itself was taking care of you, was in favor of you. This perhaps was what lay at the very root of the hysteria surrounding what came to be known as the Gold Rush: Men desiring a feeling of fortune; the unlucky masses hoping to skin or borrow the luck of others, or the luck of a destination.”
Patrick deWitt is a novelist and screenwriter. His novels include Ablutions, The Sisters Brothers, Undermajordomo Minor, and French Exit. Originally from British Columbia, Canada, he now resides in Portland, Oregon.
Length: 328 pages
Set in: California and Oregon, United States
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