Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Reading Journal: The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick DeWitt (2011)

Perhaps the most unusual book to win the Governor-General’s Award since Bear (Marian Engel, 1976), DeWitt’s second novel takes the violence of a Cormac McCarthy and fuses it with the comic style of a Charles Portis, to the point that some scenes resemble the cartoony violence of Monty Python or South Park. Though it’s a “genre book,” The Sisters Brothers acquits itself well as literature, too, telling a rather traditional story about a man hunt, and brotherhood, and the ethical challenges an emerging conscience would pose to your average mercenary. It’s incredibly difficult to put this book down, and stylistically, it exploits a few simple tricks to create a brilliant voice that’s funny but that doesn’t discount the gravity of the situation. It's a book that I already know will be hard to top on my year-end list, and an absolute must-read if you liked True Grit or True History of the Kelly Gang.

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