Wednesday, January 11, 2017

10th Canadian Challenge - 15th Review - The Sisters Brothers

The actual Canadian content of Patrick deWitt's The Sisters Brothers is essentially zero.  The author was born in Canada but had moved to the US before he wrote his first novel.  The Sisters Brothers was a follow-up novel that caught fire, as they say.  After this, he briefly moved with his family to France, which inspired him to write his third novel, Undermajordomo Minor.

The setting of The Sisters Brothers is the American West, starting in the Oregon Territory and then travelling with the Sisters Brothers to San Francisco, which is in the grips of gold fever.  (We don't even get the hint that the same kind of gold rush will hit the Yukon at some point.)  There's nothing wrong with this of course, but it is an extremely nebulous link to Can Lit.

I have to say I don't really understand all the fuss about this novel.  It is basically someone steeped in high-brow fiction slumming it in the Western genre.  It might be one thing for the narrator, Eli Sisters, to think and talk in such high-falutin language, but pretty much everyone does throughout the novel with only one or two exceptions.  It kind of grated on me and gradually I lost interest in this novel.  I think the one part that was droll was when Eli was trying to lose weight and was cutting back on his meal portions until his brother, Charlie, convinced him that the woman he was slimming down for was not worth the effort.  After this, Eli stuffs himself with biscuits and pork.  I know there are a lot of fans of this novel, but I just didn't feel very invested in the characters or the plot.

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