Sunday, February 2, 2014

Patrick deWitt - The Sisters Brothers

It is 1851,for gold has swept the American frontier. Two brother - the notorious Eli and Charlie Sisters - are on the road to California, following the trail of an elusive prospector, Hermann Kermit Warm. On this odyssey Eli and his brother cross paths with a remarkable cast of characters - losers, cheaters, and ne'er-do-wells from all stripes of - and Eli begins to question what he does for a living, and whom he does it for.

Comment: Months ago, when I was browsing GoodReads about the books people most liked or talked about or some research idea like that I came across this title. The cover seduced me, I confess and I clicked on it. I haven't read full opinions, just saw the average mark and a word here and there in two or three readers. According to that I impulsively went and bought the book, back in August of last year, more or less. I've put it on hold but this month was it and I was going to read it.

This is the story of the Sisters brothers, Eli and Charlie. The two brothers work as assassins to the Commodore and they are told about a new job in the beginning of the book, they are supposed to kill a man in California. Being from Oregon, the story is what they see and live during the trip and what they do once in California. Eli is out narrator in this gritty story about a job, dreams and a purpose of living.

The first thing I actually read about this book were the several nominations to literary awards. I was impressed although I don't tend to read books included in any literary level, or at least I don't go as much into the fiction literature, I'm more into romancelandia, but here and there I like to read something away from my usual taste, just to give more flavor to my readings.

The story started well I thought. I liked Eli's voice because he had a hard job, not a forgivable one, but his mind was sharp and he had sensible and fair attitudes. I liked him a lot and throughout the story I got to learn about his dreams and what he hoped and even when faced with adversity, he never changed completely.
I thin his brother Charlie was meant to oppose Eli totally. He was a much harder man, but in a way, more realistic. He knew he had a job to do and didn't care much about fairness. I guess when he tried to change his ways was the time he paid for it and I think the lesson to take from here is, don't change who you are just to please what others think it's best. Sometimes it's best to stick with what you know... but at the same time I think about Eli and his attempts to make the people around him feel a bit better through small actions like giving money to prostitutes just for their apparent friendship or to the young boy who thought things would be better in California.

The story has a big cast of characters, all of them offer a certain idea of behavior, of emotions that we see through Eli's eyes. I think this book is meant for the reader to wonder and think about what it's the best way to deal with each chapter offers. Lots to ponder.
Still, I can't help but saying sometimes I got a bit lost in all the things happening that I needed to pay attention to. At first I was very focused on reading but as time went by I saw myself a bit uninterested and I thin this affected my final opinion of the story. Some things just weren't as interesting...

I recognize the author has done a study of emotions here, where what was happening at a scenery would judge each character's actions and fate. I think, once again, the lesson is not always the ones who deserve get the HEA or the good things they should have. Life can be tricky.

Overall, I liked the story and the somewhat depressive mood in it. I just thought such a good story was sometimes lost in so many things that didn't appeal to me. I know many readers who liked this say it's also funny. I didn't think so. Eli has a special personality but I wouldn't consider anything funny about this. I'm more on the side that says it's sad.

In the end, a good enough, sad but well structured story. Just not always as addictive as that and I thought that, to be really wonderful for me, it had to be addictive always, to really make me eager and interested in going on.
Grade: 6/10

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