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Miriam Toews grew up in a Mennonite community in Southern Manitoba. Her previous novels include The Flying Troutmans, which was longlisted for the Orange Prize, A Boy of Good Breeding and A Complicated Kindness, which won a host of awards. She lives in Toronto. She starred in the Mexican film Silent Light (Spanish: Luz silenciosa, 2007).
This book is shortlisted for the Folio Prize 2015. It is a Sunday Times Top Choice Summer Read. Elf and Yoli are two smart, loving sisters. Elf is a world-renowned pianist, glamorous, wealthy, happily married: she wants to die. Yoli is divorced, broke, sleeping with the wrong men: she desperately wants to keep her older sister alive. When Elf's latest suicide attempt leaves her hospitalised weeks before her highly anticipated world tour, Yoli is forced to confront the impossible question of whether it is better to let a loved one go. Miriam Toews' All My Puny Sorrows, at once tender and unquiet, offers a profound reflection on the limits of love, and the sometimes unimaginable challenges we experience when childhood becomes a new country of adult commitments and responsibilities. The novel she has written - so exquisitely that you'll want to savour every word - reads as if it has been wrenched from her heart. (Christina Patterson, Sunday Times). [Miriam Toews] has produced a masterly book of such precise dignity. It is, also against all the odds, at times a desperately humorous novel. (Daily Mail). Toews takes her place alongside Alice Munro, Robertson Davies, Margaret Atwood and Mordicai Richler as the loveliest quintet of Canadian writing. (Los Angeles Times).
The stifling, reclusive life of nineteen-year-old Irma Voth, recently married, and more recently deserted is turned on its head when a film crew moves in to make a movie about the strict religious community, in which she lives. When she clashes with her domineering father over her work as a translator for the crew, Irma is set on a path towards something that feels like freedom. Along with her younger sister Aggie, wise beyond her teenage years, she hits the road and flees to the city. Upheld only by their love for each other and their smart wit, the sisters finally gain the distance to understand the tragedy that has their family in its grip. Irma Voth delves into the complicated factors that set us on the road to self-discovery and how we can sometimes find the strength to endure the really hard things that happen. It also asks that most difficult of questions: How do we forgive? And most importantly, how do we forgive ourselves?.
'Toews's debut is a tart, affectionate look at welfare mothers...Toews is especially good on the rollicking, happy, impoverished family of the projects [and] scathing about the humiliations of poverty.' New York Times Lucy and her eight-month-old son live in a Winnipeg housing project filled with single mothers on the dole. Still dealing with her own mother's sudden death, and new to the ever-multiplying complications of life on welfare, Lucy strikes up a friendship with her neighbour, Lish. On the whole, they're pretty happy . . . But Lucy wants to make sure they stay happy. And she has a plan. Told with Toews's signature scalding wit and deep compassion, Summer of my Amazing Luck is a brilliantly funny book about the intricacies of friendship, grief, and poverty. '[A] picaresque account of two welfare moms having loopy adventures and getting by in the city... The novel's voice [is] amused, warm, curious, alive on the page.' The New Yorker
Jorge said he wasn't coming back until I learned how to be a better wife . . . But before he drove off he gave me a new flashlight with triple C batteries and I'm grateful for it because this is a very dark, pitch-black part of the world . . . The closeted life of nineteen-year-old Irma Voth, recently married and more recently deserted, is turned on its head when a film crew arrives. They have come to make a movie about the strict Mennonite community in which she and her family live. Against her family's wishes, Irma takes a job on set and glimpses the wider world and a path towards something that feels like freedom.
'In this chaotic world the only stability comes from our love for one another, quirks and all. In Toews's hands, that can be funny or heartbreaking, usually at the same time.' Washington Post Meet the Troutmans. Hattie is living in Paris, city of romance, but has just been dumped by her boyfriend. Min, her sister back in Canada, is going through a particularly dark period. And Min's two kids, Logan and Thebes, are not talking and talking way too much, respectively. When Hattie receives a phone call from eleven-year-old Thebes, begging her to return to Canada, she arrives home to find Min on her way to a psychiatric ward, and becomes responsible for her niece and nephew. Realising that she is way out of her league, Hattie hatches a plan to find the kids' long-lost father. With only the most tenuous lead to go on, she piles Logan and Thebes into the family van, and they head south . . .
'Don't miss this.' Margaret Atwood 'An astonishment, a volcano of a novel.' Lauren Groff 'Brave and thoughtful.' Observer 'Remarkably layered and gripping.' Wall Street Journal 'Wickedly funny and fearlessly honest.' New Yorker Between 2005 and 2009, in a remote Mennonite colony, over one hundred girls and women were raped by what many thought were ghosts or demons. Their accounts were dismissed as 'wild female imagination'. Women Talking is an imagined response to these real events. When the women learn the truth, they meet secretly to discuss how to protect themselves and their daughters from future harm. But they have just two days to decide, before the rapists are bailed out and brought home. 'Don't miss this one! This amazing, sad, shocking, but touching novel, based on a real-life event, could be right out of The Handmaid's Tale' - Margaret Atwood, Twitter
We're Mennonites. As far as I know, we are the most embarrassing sub-sect of people to belong to if you're a teenager. Sixteen-year-old Nomi Nickel longs to hang out with Lou Reed and Marianne Faithfull in New York City's East Village. Instead she's trapped in East Village, Manitoba: a town with no train station, no bar, and where job prospects consist of slaughtering chickens at the Happy Family Farms abattoir. Since her mother and sister have left home, Nomi lives with her father, Ray, a sweet yet hapless schoolteacher. Fighting against the restraints of the town, Nomi's longing for a future of opportunity and hope sets her on course towards a climax at once startling and inevitable.
Knute is a twenty-four-year-old single mother who returns home to Algren with her daughter to look after her father Tom, who has suffered a heart attack. Meanwhile, Hosea Funk, a friend of Tom's and the mayor of Algren has a lot on his mind. The prime minister has promised to pay a visit to whichever town in Canada has the smallest population. Algren has held this position for some time but recent baby booms and returning families, like Knute, threaten to tip Algren over the magic 1500 . . .
Elfrieda von Riesen ist eine umjubelte Konzertpianistin, reich, beruhmt, verheiratet mit dem Mann, den sie liebt. Ihre Schwester Yoli ist pleite, geschieden und schlaft unfehlbar mit den falschen Mannern. Unterschiedlicher konnten zwei Schwestern nicht sein. Und doch gibt es niemanden, dem sie naher stunden als einander. Aber Elfrieda will nicht mehr leben. Kurz vor ihrer neuen Welttournee bricht sie zusammen und bittet ihre Schwester um das Unmgliche, bittet sie um diesen letzten Dienst, der bei weitem das bersteigt, was einem Menschen zumutbar ist. Whrend ihr Agent sie verzweifelt zu erreichen versucht, setzt Yoli alles daran, Elfrieda Kraft und Zuversicht einzuflen, sie fr die Tour fit zu machen. Sie kmpft aus Leibeskrften. Denn wie sollte man einem solchen Wunsch entsprechen?In ihrem neuen Roman erzhlt Miriam Toews von der Liebe zweier Schwestern, von einer Familie, die zusammenrckt und mit Witz und Menschlichkeit den Zumutungen des Lebens trotzt. Und ihr gelingt das Unglaubliche: selbst angesichts des Schwersten bringt sie uns zum Lachen.
One morning Mel Toews put on his coat and hat and walked out of town, prepared to die. A loving husband and father, faithful member of the Mennonite church, and immensely popular schoolteacher, he was a pillar of his close-knit community. Yet after a lifetime of struggle, he could no longer face the darkness of manic depression. With razor-sharp precision,Swing Low tells his story in his own voice, taking us deep inside the experience of despair. But it is also a funny, winsome evocation of country life: growing up on farm, courting a wife, becoming a teacher, and rearing a happy, strong family in the midst of private torment. A humane, inspiring story of a remarkable man, father, and teacher.
Meet the Troutmans. Hattie is living in Paris, city of romance, but has just been dumped by her boyfriend. Min, her sister back in Canada, is going through a particularly dark period. And Min's two kids, Logan and Thebes, are not talking and talking way too much, respectively. When Hattie receives a phone call from eleven-year-old Thebes, begging her to return to Canada, she arrives home to find Min on her way to a psychiatric ward, and becomes responsible for her niece and nephew. Realising that she is way out of her league, Hattie hatches a plan to find the kids' long-lost father. With only the most tenuous lead to go on, she piles Logan and Thebes into the family van, and they head south . . .