Sunday, September 13, 2015

A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews

You may have noticed once or twice that I am a huge fan of lists. So here is another interesting list, 100 Novels the Make You Proud to be Canadian. I've only read 5 of the 100 novels. That`s rather sad. The books I have read from this list are all in my Amazing category.

A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews

This a story about a 16-year-old girl living through the collapse of her family in a strict Mennonite community. Nomi's older sister leaves town. Nomi's mother leaves soon after. Her father is dealing with his own despair, leading to selling all their furniture and driving around all night and basically disappearing into himself. Nomi's despair exhibits through her rebellion against her community . . . drugs, drinking, quitting school and church.

Surprisingly this novel sounds just too sad to read but the author gives Nomi a voice that is brisk, biting and sardonic.  It really is a good read.

"One of the major themes in A Complicated Kindness is the practice of the ban, or shunning, common to Mennonite and related Christian communities. This form of excommunication is at the heart of what led to the breakup of the Nickel family. Originally a way to avoid bloodshed, the pacifist tactic of shunning is, as Miriam Toews’s title suggests, “a complicated kindness.” By excluding those who come into conflict with the community, shunning can destroy the relationship between neighbors and, as in the case of the Nickel family, cruelly divide family members."

I recommend this book.