A Complicated Kindness

Front Cover
Counterpoint Press, 2005 - Fiction - 253 pages
45 Reviews
In this stunning coming-of-age novel, award-winner Miriam Toews balances grief and hope in the voice of a witty, beleaguered teenager whose family is shattered by fundamentalist Christianity
"Half of our family, the better-looking half, is missing," Nomi Nickel tells us at the beginning of A Complicated Kindness. Left alone with her sad, peculiar father, her days are spent piecing together why her mother and sister have disappeared and contemplating her inevitable career at Happy Family Farms, a chicken slaughterhouse on the outskirts of East Village. Not the East Village in New York City where Nomi would prefer to live, but an oppressive town founded by Mennonites on the cold, flat plains of Manitoba, Canada.

This darkly funny novel is the world according to the unforgettable Nomi, a bewildered and wry sixteen-year-old trapped in a town governed by fundamentalist religion and in the shattered remains of a family it destroyed. In Nomi's droll, refreshing voice, we're told the story of an eccentric, loving family that falls apart as each member lands on a collision course with the only community any of them have ever known. A work of fierce humor and tragedy by a writer who has taken the American market by storm, this searing, tender, comic testament to family love will break your heart.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
11
4 stars
4
3 stars
5
2 stars
4
1 star
21

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - viviennestrauss - LibraryThing

After loving Swing Low, this book was disappointing. The writing just didn't have the same smoothness, oomph or depth, some sentences didn't seem like complete sentences. It felt like the author was trying to be abstract in lots of ways just left me feeling confused. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - StephenBarkley - LibraryThing

Nomi Nickel is a sixteen year rebel recovering from the religious indoctrination of "The Mouth," the preacher in her small Mennonite community. Against the backdrop of a future snapping the heads of ... Read full review

All 21 reviews »

Selected pages

Contents

one
1
two
11
three
22
four
27
five
34
six
39
seven
47
eight
56
seventeen
136
eighteen
144
nineteen
151
twenty
160
twentyone
170
twentytwo
180
twentythree
189
twentyfour
197

nine
68
ten
76
eleven
86
twelve
95
thirteen
101
fourteen
109
fifteen
115
sixteen
121
twentyfive
207
twentysix
217
twentyseven
227
twentyeight
239
reader discussion guide
247
acknowledgments
255
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2005)

Miriam Toews was born in 1964 in Canada. She is best known for her novels A Complicated Kindness and All My Puny Sorrows. She has won a number of literary prizes including the Governor General's Award for Fiction and the Writers' Trust Engel/Findley Award for body of work. She is also a two-time finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and a two-time winner of the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. Toews had a leading role in the feature film Silent Light, written and directed by Mexican filmmaker, Carlos Reygadas and winner of the 2007 Cannes Jury Prize, an experience that influenced her fifth novel, Irma Voth.

Bibliographic information