Friday, April 21, 2006

The book that all Canada should read:
A COMPLICATED KINDNESS
Congratulations to Miriam Toews on a great honour for a great book (my favourite of the year)! And congratulations as well to John K Samson for advocating this book so well.
Here's a review of A Complicated Kindness by Dave Weich that I lifted off the web:

Miriam Toews Breaks Out
Dave Weich, Powells.com
Nomi Nickel's family is falling apart. First, big sister Tash fled their Mennonite village. Soon after, Mom followed. "Half of our family, the better-looking half, is missing," Nomi tells us at the outset. "If we could get out of this town things might be better but we can't because we're waiting for Trudie and Tash to come back."
Nomi's narration is a genuine wonder. "The narrative voice is so strong," a Guardian reviewer marveled, "it could carry the least eventful, least weird adolescence in the world and still be as transfixing."
Toews herself was raised Mennonite in small-town Steinbach, Manitoba. In addition to two previous novels and 2001's poignant
Swing Low, a biography of her father, she has written for This American Life and the New York Times Magazine.
More than a barbed polemic,
A Complicated Kindness is the story of a bright young woman straining under the pressure of family, boys, and authority, common enough conflicts drawn here in extravagant, heartrending particulars. Head-scratching details emerge so inconspicuously, in fact, and Nomi's trenchant commentary is stitched in with such insouciance (to use one of her boyfriend's favorite words), that in this moving, timely portrait of the havoc religious fundamentalism has wreaked on one well-meaning family you rarely sense the author is actually trying to indict anyone.
"There is a kindness here," Nomi assures us, "a complicated kindness. You can see it sometimes in the eyes of the people when they look at you and don't know what to say. When they ask me how my dad is, for instance, and mean how am I managing without my mother."
Sharp and often howlingly funny — but insistently generous — A Complicated Kindness is my favorite novel of 2004.
*****
mine too, Dave, mine too

10 comments:

John Mutford said...

Congrats on having your favourite book picked. I did enjoy it, not as much as others seem to, but it IS a good book. And hey, at least Deafening didn't win!

Maureen said...

Okay, I've already read the winner so I guess I'll have to read the losers, lol. I went to the bookstore yesterday, I'm glad the bookstore is a long drive away.

Kellee said...

I've been looking for a good read..I'll check it out. Thanks Barbarella the All-Powerful and All-Knowing! Love ya! ;) xoxoxo

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Thanks John, I was actually pretty ill-informed, seeing as it was the only book from the list I had read, but I was really taken by it. And I love John K Samson.
Yeah, Deafening did get soundly trounced!
I sure hope the CBC gives you acknowledgement or a nice cheque for your idea for next year's contest. (They totally stole that from you!)

Maureen, I'lll have to do the same thing, but first I need to finish The Way the Crow Flies (I am so bad at finding time to finish the BIG books anymore). I usually get my books from the library.

Oh Kellee, you should know better than to pay any attention to what I say! But this IS a really good book. You'll love it.

michelle said...

Oh yay, my next read won! Thanks for the updates Barbara, with you I don't need the Lifestyle section of the news anymore. *wink*

Now to find the book down here, eek.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Michelle, is there another section to the newspaper? Oh yeah, the comics.
Let me know if you have trouble finding the book. I'm sure I can get it here and send it to you.

Will said...

A book I will have to read ... Thanks for documenting the whole literary contest so well.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I'm glad I was able to share some of my impressions with you, Will. I do hope you enjoy it if you decide to read it.

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