The Flying Troutmans

Front Cover
Knopf Canada, Feb 24, 2009 - Fiction - 288 pages
25 Reviews
"Min was stranded in her bed, hooked on the blue torpedoes and convinced that a million silver cars were closing in on her (I didn't know what Thebes meant either), Logan was in trouble at school, something about the disturbing stories he was writing, Thebes was pretending to be Min on the phone with his principal, the house was crumbling around them, the black screen door had blown off in the wind, a family of aggressive mice was living behind the piano, the neighbours were pissed off because of hatchets being thrown into their yard at night (again, confusing, something to do with Logan) … basically, things were out of control. And Thebes is only eleven."
–from The Flying Troutmans

Days after being dumped by her boyfriend Marc in Paris – "he was heading off to an ashram and said we could communicate telepathically" – Hattie hears her sister Min has been checked into a psychiatric hospital, and finds herself flying back to Winnipeg to take care of Thebes and Logan, her niece and nephew. Not knowing what else to do, she loads the kids, a cooler, and a pile of CDs into their van and they set out on a road trip in search of the children's long-lost father, Cherkis.

In part because no one has any good idea where Cherkis is, the traveling matters more than the destination. On their wayward, eventful journey down to North Dakota and beyond, the Troutmans stay at scary motels, meet helpful hippies, and try to ignore the threatening noises coming from under the hood of their van. Eleven-year-old Thebes spends her time making huge novelty cheques with arts and crafts supplies in the back, and won't wash, no matter how wild and matted her purple hair gets; she forgot to pack any clothes. Four years older, Logan carves phrases like "Fear Yourself" into the dashboard, and repeatedly disappears in the middle of the night to play basketball; he's in love, he says, with New York Times columnist Deborah Solomon. Meanwhile, Min can't be reached at the hospital, and, more than once, Hattie calls Marc in tears.

But though it might seem like an escape from crisis into chaos, this journey is also desperately necessary, a chance for an accidental family to accept, understand or at least find their way through overwhelming times. From interwoven memories and scenes from the past, we learn much more about them: how Min got so sick, why Cherkis left home, why Hattie went to Paris, and what made Thebes and Logan who they are today.

In this completely captivating book, Miriam Toews has created some of the most engaging characters in Canadian literature: Hattie, Logan and Thebes are bewildered, hopeful, angry, and most of all, absolutely alive. Full of richly skewed, richly funny detail, The Flying Troutmans is a uniquely affecting novel.


From the Hardcover edition.
  

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It's a writer-to-reader love story. - Goodreads
I liked this ending - it's true to life. - Goodreads
I've found a new favorite writer, methinks. - Goodreads
There's almost no plot to speak off. - Goodreads
Alice Munro is a grand master of such writing. - Goodreads
I like her writing and her thinking. - Goodreads

Review: The Flying Troutmans

User Review  - Ilyhana Kennedy - Goodreads

Some stories sound familiar because we know people like this, and so it is with this story for me. I know the journey that these characters make and the challenge that it takes just to live each day ... Read full review

Review: The Flying Troutmans

User Review  - Charles - Goodreads

I don't know why I even bothered to finish this book. It is skillfully executed. But if you've already seen the movie Little Miss Sunshine why read the folksy boring Canadian version of the film? So ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
1
Section 2
19
Section 3
33
Section 4
55
Section 5
69
Section 6
84
Section 7
105
Section 8
145
Section 10
175
Section 11
188
Section 12
200
Section 13
218
Section 14
235
Section 15
246
Section 16
260
Copyright

Section 9
159

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2009)

Miriam Toews is the author of three previous novels: Summer of My Amazing Luck; A Boy of Good Breeding and A Complicated Kindness (winner of the 2004 Governor’s General Award for fiction) and one work of non-fiction: Swing Low: A Life. She lives in Winnipeg.


From the Hardcover edition.

Bibliographic information