Monday, November 26, 2012

Read: The Sisters Brothers by Patrick Dewitt

It's been a while since I read a book so engaging that I didn't want it to end. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I felt this way about The Sisters Brothers; so much so that I checked the 'percentage complete' every time I turned off my Kobo to assess how much was left. Which in my opinion, is not nearly as satisfying as turning a hard cover book on it's side and assessing how many unread pages remain, but you get my point. It was such a contrary experience to that of The Casual Vacancy, where the 'percentage complete' loomed over me like an insurmountable deadline. Okay, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but let's just say I was discouraged.  Which was why I was so glad to dig into The Sisters Brothers and discover it wasn't my reading 'juju' that was lacking (like writer's block, I believe that there is such a thing as reader's block).

So, what was so good about The Sisters Brothers, without ruining any of the storyline? The writing was sharp, witty. The dialogue was engaging and at times, laugh out loud funny. The narrator Eli, one the the Sisters brothers, is gritty and tough but utterly endearing at the same time. His observations about human behaviour and society, interspersed with sudden scenes of gruesome violence really take the reader from one extreme to another. I'm not sure if I loved the ending, but if you look at the book as a whole and consider the genre, I have to admit that it was an appropriate ending.

Western literature and film has really grown on me. Perhaps the seed was planted from young age; I have fond memories of watching Clint Eastwood westerns with my grandfather. Maybe it was HBO's Deadwood; the dialogue (once you develop an ear for it) is some of the smartest, and dare I say, poetic vulgarity I have ever heard. All I know is that I get excited when I see a preview for a new western movie. I absolutely adore Unforgiven, Tombstone and True Grit. I am eager to see Django in the coming weeks, even though I have a love/hate appreciation for Tarantino. Needless to say I was excited to learn that the film rights for The Sister Brothers has been purchased by John C. Reilly's production company; I believe that the style in which the book was written will lend well to film. I'm saying right now that I'd love to see someone like Javier Bardem or Josh Brolin play Eli, but I'm guessing John C. Reilly may have an edge over them! Anyone else out there read The Sisters Brothers yet? Any thoughts? Also, and good western film suggestions?

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