A COMPLICATED KINDNESS

Miriam Toews, Author . Counterpoint $24 (256p) ISBN 978-1-58243-321-9

A 16-year-old rebels against the conventions of her strict Mennonite community and tries to come to terms with the collapse of her family in this insightful, irreverent coming-of-age novel. In bleak rural Manitoba, Nomi longs for her older sister, Tash ("she was so earmarked for damnation it wasn't even funny"), and mother, Trudie, each of whom has recently fled fundamentalist Christianity and their town. Her gentle, uncommunicative father, Ray, isn't much of a sounding board as Nomi plunges into bittersweet memory and grapples with teenage life in a "kind of a cult with pretend connections to some normal earthly conventions." Once a "curious, hopeful child" Nomi now relies on biting humor as her life spins out of control—she stops attending school, shaves her head and wanders around in a marijuana-induced haze—while Ray sells off most of their furniture, escapes on all-night drives and increasingly withdraws into himself. Still, she and Ray are linked in a tender, if fragile, partnership as each slips into despair. Though the narration occasionally unravels into distracting stream of consciousness, the unsentimental prose and the poignant character interactions sustain reader interest. Bold, tender and intelligent, this is a clear-eyed exploration of belief and belonging, and the irresistible urge to escape both. Agent, Knopf Canada. Author tour. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 07/19/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 246 pages - 978-0-676-97612-0
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-307-37115-7
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-571-26850-4
Paperback - 246 pages - 978-0-676-97613-7
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-7531-7358-9
Hardcover - 352 pages - 978-0-7531-7357-2
Mass Market Paperbound - 324 pages - 978-1-4000-2576-3
Compact Disc - 1 pages - 978-0-86492-327-1
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-676-97856-8
Paperback - 253 pages - 978-1-58243-322-6
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4703-2330-1
Open Ebook - 264 pages - 978-1-58243-889-4
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-61902-622-3
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