I’m a big fan of the revisionist western, but none I’ve read are as funny and strange, or as oddly warm, as Patrick DeWitt’s The Sisters Brothers (Ecco, $25). Our antihero and narrator is Eli Sisters, a portly killer for hire who hits the gold trail with his bloodthirsty brother Charlie for a contract job in California. Eli favors cleaning his teeth to drinking whiskey, love to lust; he has an irrational attachment to his steed, Tub, a half-blind geriatric flea biscuit. As for the vocation of killing, he’s conflicted: “I thought, how many times have I pulled my pistol on a stranger and fired a bullet into his body … for the lone reason that he was firing at Charlie, and my very soul demanded I protect my own flesh and blood?” The novel is indeed about blood—familial and otherwise—and you’ll find yourself ashamedly pulling for the brothers Sisters like you did for Jules and Vinnie in Pulp Fiction.
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