Set in the Irish Midlands in the 1850s, Emma Donoghue’s The Wonder is a historical novel following Lib Wright, an English nurse and trainee of the famous Florence Nightingale (the pioneer of modern nursing). She is brought to rural Ireland at the request of a committee of locals to act as sentinel to an 11-year-old girl named Anna O’Donnell. She and her family claim that through God’s will she can live without eating, and has supposedly done so for three months already. Lib’s job, working in shifts with a nun, is to continuously watch the girl for two weeks to see if she is indeed a miraculous child or merely conning her community and the people at large who flock to see her.Read More »
Hermann Kermit Warm is going to die. The enigmatic and powerful man known only as the Commodore has ordered it, and his henchmen, Eli and Charlie Sisters, will make sure of it. Though Eli doesn’t share his brother’s appetite for whiskey and killing, he’s never known anything else. But their prey isn’t an easy mark, and on the road from Oregon City to Warm’s gold-mining claim outside Sacramento, Eli begins to question what he does for a living – and whom he does it for.
The Sisters Brothers is a novel that quite surprised me. It demonstrated that Patrick deWitt has a substantial versatility to his writing style. This novel is the first of his I ever acquired, but the last one I have read. The book and deWitt as its author were cemented in my memory thanks to the wordplay of the title and the fantastic cover art by Dan Stiles, leading me to read his first book Ablutions and his latest book Undermajordomo Minor before finally getting to this one. Having last read the latter of the two I expected The Sisters Brothers to be written with similar quirk and colour, but the difference in tone was dramatic.Read More »