Friday, October 3, 2008

BOOK: A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews

A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews, 246 pages

2nd Canadian Book Challenge; 2nds Challenge (I read A Boy of Good Breeding); Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction

Nomi Nickel, Mennonite girl, trying to deal with her family falling apart. Her mother and sister have left the town, and Nomi is left with her father in their small, ultra religious community. Not a lot happens here, just a very sad little girl with her thoughts.

I found reading this book was like listening to a song in a minor key - it was very depressing, and the tone just kept getting more and more ominous. It's a testament to the writing that I was made to feel that way, progressively sadder and sadder. Poor Nomi with usual teenage problems about self and place in the world, compounded by abandonment by her mother and only sibling, and trying to hold her father together and deal with her change of faith. Toews writes well, but I have heard mixed reviews of this book. It may have won the Canada Reads in 2006, but I preferred her other novel, A Boy of Good Breeding, a quirkier read.


  1. I'm still on the fence as far as Toews is concerned. I think I will try the Flying Troutman's someday though.

    I agree with you about the spiralling downward feeling of this one.

  2. I own this book, and lent it to my mother. She said it was typically Canadian!! so I still haven't read it yet!

  3. I have this by my bedside ready to read and now I'm not so sure I want to. Thanks for the heads up. I may look into the other one you mentioned.


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