Irma Voth: A Novel by Miriam Toews, 5/5
This is the third Toews novel I have read and I continue to be baffled by her genius. I simply don’t understand how it’s possible to write something so beautiful, unexpected, unconventional, funny and touching, on any subject, much less the story of how an independent film crew provides the catalyst for an excommunicated Mennonite girl in Mexico to find her own path to freedom and meaning.
Why I read it: Trying to see if Miriam Toews can write anything I don’t like. So far, the answer is an emphatic “no.”
All My Puny Sorrows
All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews, 5/5
All my words are insufficient to convey how exquisite this semi-autobiographical novel is; I am reduced to a string of mere adjectives…raw, beautiful, funny, insightful, uplifting, bittersweet…none of which can fully capture this story of two sisters, one a struggling writer with a history of failed relationships and the other a beautiful concert pianist who possesses everything happiness requires…except the will to live. Intensely personal, defiantly human, undeniably humorous, this book is a masterpiece and a privilege to read.
Why I read it: The first chapter is in McSweeney’s No. 48.