Sunday, November 4, 2007

BOOK: a boy of good breeding by Miriam Toews

a boy of good breeding by Miriam Toews

a Manitoba book for the Canadian Book Challenge

Toews is more famous for her novel A Complicated Kindness which won the Governor General's award in 2004, but I read a good review of this book recently, so decided to try it.
Hosea Funk, the mayor of Algren, Canada's smallest town, is on a mission: If Algren is officially the smallest town, exactly 1500 people, the Prime Minister, who Hosea believes may be his father, will come to visit on Canada Day. Hosea is keeping very close tabs on Algren's citizens in his orange Hilroy scribbler - people returning, people dying, people having babies - maybe triplets! It is driving him nearly crazy (it might not be a long drive).

As he hovers around, looking after his town, we get to know some of the people, like people in small towns every where. There is Combine Jo, a drunk who drives her combine, natch, up Main Street once a year; Summer Lovin', a four year old who has returned (more people!) with her mother, Knute, to look after her father; and Bill Oliver, a local dog who cannot be told what to do, none of the Olivers ever could. Hosea is going so nuts, he won't let his girlfriend move in with him, since she would increase the population by one, moving down from Winnipeg.

It's a whimsy little story, with some pretty amusing parts. But Toews has hidden some more layers to the story, about living your life, and doing what you can to be happy, living without regret and making amends. It was touching story, with interesting characters, and people you want to find out about.


  1. This is the 2nd Toews book I've seen reviewed lately. Barbara reviewed Summer of My Amazing Luck over at Fall Reading Challenge.

    I'm not sure how I feel about Toews. I liked A Complicated Kindness but didn't feel it deserved the hype or accolades. I sort of feel she forces the quirkiness.

  2. john - I can see that

    booklogged - it was a fun book, not to heavy at all, and amusing.


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