Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Briefly: Patrick deWitt, The Sisters Brothers

deWitt, Patrick, The Sisters Brothers, House of Anansi Press, 2011

The Sisters Brothers at Goodreads

Rating: 8/10

Pervading deWitt's award-winning novel is the notion that in a meaningless world we must forge for ourselves some defining purpose. The story is not about the world it creates, despite its vivid attention to detail, but about how man must find purpose in an absurd and purposeless universe. Throughout the novel its protagonist Eli Sisters contemplates his own role in society, and the various paths that were at different points available to him.

"What is it that makes a man great?" muses the Commodore, declaring that a great man is "one who can make something from nothing!" This is a violent, chaotic world without meaning, where all life has little value and the absurd is commonplace. The enigmatic evil little girl has sense enough to recognize that the world lacks sense, while the various characters throughout, such as Herman Kermit Warm and the dentist, reflect on the paths that have led them to their respective stations in life. This is not a Kieregaardian world where faith leads one from the meaningless to eternal salvation, but one where God has no place and man must furnish himself with purpose as a form of salvation.

True to the hype, The Sisters Brothers is clever, intelligent and often funny, yet manages to be entertaining even without its philosophy, but of course its ideas escalate the novel beyond mere entertainment. And it has that gorgeous cover and interior design.

1 comment:

pattinase (abbott) said...

Loved it and have sold several copies for Mr. De Witt.

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