You don’t have to like Westerns to love The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt. The book took first place in both the Rogers Writer’s Trust and the Governor-Generals Awards this past fall and was nominated for Britain’s Man Booker Prize as well.

Eli and Charlie Sisters are notorious guns for hire and their latest job sends them from Oregon to California during the height of the Gold Rush.

Eli is tender at heart but Charlie will shoot a man just for looking at him the wrong way. Eli, as the thoughtful narrator, lets the reader know he is questioning his livelihood but sibling loyalty keeps him in the game with his brother.Charlie is a psychopath with a taste for alcohol and the matter of fact story he recounts to Eli about how their father died will both shock and amaze.

You shouldn’t like these two but you cannot help laugh at the interactions the men have with the unfortunate individuals that cross their paths. The tenderness Eli shows to his horse and the occasional stranger is often offset by the violent behaviour of Charlie. There is nothing predictable in this book.DeWitt has written an original, funny, interesting book that once you begin to read you won’t be able to stop.