"Tub was a healthy enough animal but would have been better suited to some other, less ambitious owner. He was portly and low-backed and could not travel more than fifty miles in a day. I was often forced to whip him, which some men do not mind doing and which in fact some enjoy doing, but which I did not like to do; and afterward he, Tub, believed me cruel and thought to himself, Sad life, sad life."Little does Tub know what life has in store when the Sisters brothers hit the trail in Oregon City, bound for San Francisco.
This book is darkly comic, insightful about human nature and very touching. Perhaps I should warn you: the Old West is a tough and violent place and children and animals are not spared from grief in The Sisters Brothers. Even though I covered my eyes and moaned at times, I still laughed throughout the book and I recommend it highly.
P.S. The Booker Prize winner, announced today, is Julian Barnes for The Sense of an Ending.