Audiobook Review: The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt Narrated by John Pruden

Honestly, The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt narrated by John Pruden is probably the worst audiobook that I have ever read thus far. I know I should have DNFed it, but I did like the beginning. Also, isn’t that cover completely fabulous? It’s very eyecatching. At first I thought Pruden was perfect for this western story because his voice has a little grit to it, but after an hour or two of listening, I changed my mind.

The Sisters Brothers, Patrick DeWitt, Book Cover,

The Sisters Brothers

Two brothers, Charlie and Eli Sisters, are hired to kill some guy by orders of the Commodore. The Sisters brothers leave carnage in their wake. There’s also a horse who is a little bit grubby, but I enjoyed whenever the horse was in a scene.

There was a combination of elements which turned me off. I found the narrator to be very monotone. Pruden didn’t have the sort of cadence I like to listen to. I get very bored when I listen to a slow talker, and unfortunately the pace was SO slow! However, he had the type of voice where I like the tonal quality at first, but then I would try to exit the conversation because the pitch never changes and well, I need a bit of pitch change to be interested.

This might be a good read if you don’t have my hang ups, but honestly I spent most of my time spaced out instead of concentrating on The Sisters Brothers audiobook. Also, I am wondering if maybe I would have enjoyed it more had I read it in print.

Disclosure: Received for review.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

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About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Shame about the audio version – but the book in print was fabulous! You should give it another chance – particularly if the audio couldn’t hold your attention. It’s actually a really funny book, in a black comedy kinda’ way.

    • Maybe I will try it in print! It might just have been the audio.

      • I have sort of made a rule for myself not to judge a book by its audiobook. There have been a few books where the audiobook was terrible, but I broke down and tried to read the book and it was much better. Some narrators just aren’t cut out for certain stories. In fact, I just wrote a post about this on my blog a few days ago. Come check it out if you’re curious.

  2. I can’t listen to audiobooks, so I got to hand it to you for being able to make it through one, even if it was horrible – and you’re right. That cover is killer! Reminds me of Tim Burton style. The narrations sounds mind numbing, and a bit like how Robert Frost would read his poetry – he was fairly monotone when he recited it, I think.
    Fun title, though.

  3. Lydia/The Lost Entwife says

    I have a really rough time with audio books – I tend to space out listening to them, no matter how compelling the book.

    I’ve been skeptical about this book though regardless. I might wait and see if you try it in print and like it more that way before giving it a shot. =)

  4. Can’t say that I’ve heard anything about this one. Guess I won’t listen to it! I agree with you though – awesome cover design – definitely eye catching. Hope your next listen is more enjoyable!

  5. Your review isn’t the first that I’ve read about the monotone of the narrator’s voice. I think I’ll stick to the print copy.

  6. I love audiobooks! The audiobook version of The Sisters Brothers wasn’t readily available on CD (I listen to audiobooks in the car while commuting), so I bought the hardcover. I loved the book, and thought that I might also listen to the audio version, but based on your review I think I’ll skip it.

    P.S. Just listened to the audio version of Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder, and Hope Davis did an outstanding job as the reader/narrator/performer.

  7. Hi April,

    So sorry to hear you did not like my narration of The Sisters Brothers. The character in the book doing the narrating, one of the Sisters brothers, came across to me as the not-too-brighter of the two. So I read him that way – at least in the beginning. At the very end when the tables are turned I read him as the smarter of the two, which in truth, he was all along. I guess my slow was too slow and monotone, though. Again, sorry you didn’t enjoy it. But I DO value your feedback and will keep it in mind when narrating in the future.

    In the “one-person’s-trash-is-another’s-treasure” department, the audiobook did get a glowing review in AudioFile Magazine []. Those of you who may be sitting the fence can hear a sample of the audiobook at and decide for yourself.

    I enjoy your website, April, and hope you may like some of the other books I’ve narrated. Keep up the excellent work!

    Best regards,
    John Pruden

  8. An curious follow-up for those who might be interested. This week, The Sisters Brothers was listed by The Washington Post at the top of their Best Audiobooks of 2011. []

  9. That’s too bad about the audio book. I really enjoyed the novel. Usually, award winning novels are chosen because they challenge the reader (but they aren’t very fun to read). This book received so much attention because it’s compelling and intelligent.

    • Maybe, but the audiobook just didn’t grab me during my commute. Perhaps I would like it more in print. I mean, just because I review YA and historical romance and the occasional non-fiction doesn’t mean I don’t read literature or have never read award winning books.