The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt

I don't read many award winners or even nominees, and I generally try to avoid "quality literature".  I don't know what it is that bothers me about it, but I guess I generally lean towards pop culture, not intellectual whatever.  So at first, The Sisters Brother didn't appeal to me.  I didn't bother to read the description.  I didn't even notice the cover: two silhouettes aiming guns, forming the shape of a skull.

So to my surprise, I enjoyed it, mostly.  It's a bit of a western.  The brothers, Eli and Charlie Sisters, are hit men working for the Commodore.  Eli is getting tired of the work, but commits to finishing this one last job.  the first half of the book is a series of anecdotes from the journey from Oregon City to San Francisco, including a run in with a bear, a dentist appointment where they discover the pleasures of tooth brushing, and a weird old lady who may or may not have cursed them.  About halfway through, the story coalesces into a more standard, straightforward plot.  The brothers discover that their target may be a ticket to riches if they keep him alive. 

I won't suggest this book is for everyone.  While it isn't difficult, it also isn't a rousing action adventure.  It reminded me a lot of True Grit in its pacing and odd diversions.  The appeal to a general audience of teen boys may be limited, but it is certainly worthy of consideration for more thoughtful young men, though more forthe upper teens than lower. 

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