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Miriam Toews, A Complicated Kindness

Miriam Toews' A Complicated Kindness is a fine novel which tells the story of Nomi, a teenaged girl growing up in a repressive religious community in rural Manitoba. This wonderful paragraph nicely encapsulates what the increasingly free-thinking Nomi is up against.

When we were little, Tash and I would sit in the darkened dining room of my grandmother's farmhouse, listening to the funeral announcements. They came on after supper, on the local radio station we were allowed to listen to because the elders knew that it was better for little children to listen to the names of dead people being read out in a terrifying monotone than the Beatles singing all we need is love. Afterwards my grandma would tell us: They have gone home at last. Praise the Lord. Then we would play this game called Knipsbrat with each other until our middle fingers were sore. It was one of the few games we were allowed to play. Golf was another one because it consisted of using a rod to hit something much, much smaller than yourself and a lot of men in this town enjoyed that sort of thing.

My thanks to Counterpoint Books for the review copy.

April 4, 2006 in Books | Permalink