You should never judge a book by its cover but I did judge this. Cartoon skulls are only acceptable if McQueen, they have no place on the book shelf, and optical illusion graphics should be left in the 90s along with the 'magic eye'. But with an hour commute and no book in my bag, I reached for the only thing unread on my shelf, The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt. On reading the blurb it confirmed my suspicions, a novel about two brothers working as assassins in the Wild West...not really my cup of tea.
Yet by the end of the first chapter I was hooked, not by the plot (a rancid spider poisoned toe is of little interest to me) but by the protagonist and the beautiful unique style. This first person account talks us through the observations and misguided feelings of Eli, the tubbier kinder of the two brothers, displaying DeWitt's talent for a less common type of poetry.
Eli explains the brothers' journey with an honest simplicity that really is a pleasure to read. Hilarious at times, I quite often found myself grinning like a goon at the pages before catching myself and returning to the sobriety of the Piccadilly Line. It's humour lies in the unawareness of the jokes. What skill!
This is an excellent gift idea for a father or brother, I think one of my own will be receiving this in their stocking this year, and I look forward to the discussion following.