Thursday, December 18, 2014

Completed: The Sisters Brothers

Dear Jenny,

I know you have read this book (winner of the 2012 Tournament of Books!) so I feel the freedom of not having to give you too many details. Heh.

First I must say that this book cover design is one of my favorites of all time. Seriously brilliant -- I might have to frame this dust cover and hang it up. It's just terrific.

Okay... now. Onto the book. In a nutshell, I loved it. Can I just stop there? Heh. All right -- I'll say a bit more... but just some random thoughts. This is an incomplete list, but the orange "Publish" button is calling my name...

Random thought #1: Eli's intelligence
Because I was feeling "under the gun" (that's a pun. Har har.) I did a aBook/pBook combo on this one -- reading the pBook when I had time to sit and read and listening to the aBook when I was on the move. And I must say that this sort of affected my reading. Because... the narrator of the aBook probably sounded more intelligent than I think the author intended Eli to be.

I had some notes to talk more here about Eli's "intelligence," but I can't remember what I was going to say. Basically, he is supposed to be dumb, but his language and the thoughts that he has are... not at all dumb. Mostly, I found this to be charming, but every once in awhile, I did think, "Waaaait a minute...." But if he came off as dumb as he is supposed to be, the book probably would have sucked.

Random thought #2: Violence
I was a bit reluctant to read this book because I understood it to be violent and rough, but actually... it wasn't so bad for me. Which makes me feel like, "What kind of psycho am I that I wasn't bothered by that horse's eye getting removed with at spoon?!" I mean, sure, I was bothered by it. But it wasn't intolerable. Perhaps it was one of those situations where I had heard how terrible everything was, I was braced for it and it ended up being not so bad.

I'm curious about your reaction, because you had certainly heard far less about it: Was the violence horrific for you?

Random thought #3: Story telling
The writing was pretty fantastic. One notable example is the graceful way we find out exactly what "Sisters Brothers" means. We get early on that they have been hired to kill someone, but we do not know that these are notorious and feared killers.

The first time the reader gets an inkling, Eli says something like: And so I told him my full name and let it sink in. And then again awhile later, with the direct reference to the "Sisters Brothers" and seeing the panic on the person's face. It's just really artfully done. (I am not reporting it artfully at all here, but I'm sure you know what I mean. Bear with me -- gotta get this done!)

Random thought #4: Words!
I love the name "Hermann Kermit Warm." That is all.

Random thought #5: New cover? Nooooooo!
I just looked this book up and saw this seriously craptacular book cover  that apparently went with the paperback. What?! First of all, why mess with one of the best cover designs ever? And secondly... Eli is supposed to be overweight. Who is overweight in this weird picture? UGH. Publishers!

And... that's it. I thought this book was fantastic. I burned through it and did not want it to end. I will be recommending it to many, many people. (I've already passed it on to two others!)


1 comment:

  1. Yeah, that spoon thing just brought it all back. You know, I think I do a bit of skimming when it's particularly violent. This is the good thing about pBooks---you can just let your eye drift across the page.

    I remember that book being a slow start for me, but then I ended up really loving it. I should reread it!

    That book cover is *hideous* in a way that really sucks. That original book cover is amazing. Agreed.

    SPEAKING OF THE TOB: word on the street is that the long list will be released today!