Friday, July 30, 2010

Lily Inspiration: Mennonites Gone Wild

I recently had the pleasure of reading A Complicated Kindness, by Miriam Toews, for my book club (yes, I am in a book club. Book clubs rule!) and would like to highly recommend it to anyone looking for their next summer read. Despite having won the 2004 Governor General's Award for English fiction, being nominated for the Giller Prize, and having spent an impressive amount of time on various bestseller lists, I had actually never heard of it or the author. I also had no idea that there were a bunch of Mennonites running around southern Saskatchewan--cool!

The novel is told in a sort of non-linear, memoir-type format by Nomi, a rebellious sixteen year-old girl from a fictional Mennonite town in the early eighties. For reasons that are unspecified at first, Nomi's mother and sister are no longer in contact with her and her father. There is a lot of longing for New York, an elegantly expressed soup of coming-of-age emotions, and a surprise ending that casts and entirely new light on all the preceding prose. An all-together very satisfying tale about unlikely people in an unusual place; has anybody else read it?


Mia said...

I have, and also in a book club! I quite enjoyed it.

Erin said...

Aha! Great minds clearly think alike....I was quite shocked with the ending, actually. I thought it really made all the parts where she goes on about how much her parents loved each other suddenly make a lot of sense.