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A Complicated Kindness

Toews, Miriam, 1964- (Book - 2004 )
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
A Complicated Kindness
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Baker & Taylor
Doomed to work at the Happy Family Farm, a chicken slaughterhouse in a town run by a Mennonite community, sixteen-year-old Nomi Nickel nevertheless manages to bear witness to the dissolution of her family with a dark, sly wit.

Blackwell North Amer
Welcome to the world of Nomi Nickel, a tough, wry young woman trapped in a small Mennonite town that seeks to set her on the path to righteousness and smother her at the same time. In this work, Miriam Toews explores the intricate binds of family, and the forces that tear them apart.
"Half of our family, the better-looking half, is missing," Nomi tells us at the beginning of A Complicated Kindness. Left alone with her father Ray, her days are spent piecing together the reasons her mother, Trudie, and her sister, Natasha, have gone missing, and trying to figure out what she can do to avoid a career at Happy Family Farms, a chicken abattoir on the outskirts of East Village - not the neighbourhood in Manhattan where Nomi most wants to live, but the small town in southern Manitoba. Boasting such attractions as a Main Street that goes nowhere and a replica pioneer village that hearkens back to the days when life was simple, and citizens who didn't live by the book were routinely shunned, East Village is ministered by the fiercely pious Hans, or as Nomi calls her uncle, The Mouth.
As Nomi gets to the bottom of the truth behind her mother's and sister's disappearances, she finds herself on a direct collision course with her uncle and the only community she has ever known. But one startling act of defiance brings the novel to its shattering conclusion.

Baker
& Taylor

Doomed to work at the Happy Family Farm, a chicken slaughterhouse in a town run by religious fundamentalists, sixteen-year-old Nomi Nickel nevertheless manages to bear witness to the dissolution of her family with a dark, sly wit.

Authors: Toews, Miriam, 1964-
Statement of Responsibility: Miriam Toews
Title: A complicated kindness
Publisher: New York : Counterpoint, c2004
Characteristics: 246 p. ; 22 cm.
LCCN: 2004007960
ISBN: 1582433216
Branch Call Number: FIC T
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Jun 21, 2013
  • zaire189 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

What a captivating book!

Jun 17, 2013
  • WVMLBookClubTitles rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Left alone with her father, sixteen-year-old Nomi rebels against the conventions of her strict Manitoba Mennonite community and tries to come to terms with the collapse of her family. A powerful young Canadian author, Toews was awarded the 2004 Governor General’s Award for this insightful and irreverent coming-of-age tale.

Apr 21, 2013
  • britprincess1 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I was intrigued and pulled into this book. It isn't conventional and the storyline doesn't follow many rules, but the immersion into the troublesome life of Mennonite teen Nomi spoke to me. I wouldn't consider myself rebellious, when I was a teen nor now, but her personality was one of interest, regardless. I think, in essence, this point of her life was a learning experience and she made mistakes in a society that was unaccepting of adolescent experimentation. I think the prose was beautiful and that Miriam Toews's debut was worth all its acclaim. I would definitely recommend this book.

May 28, 2012
  • spudwil rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

I found it very boring and depressing. The story did not seem to progress. Disappointing.

Apr 29, 2012
  • Nerak rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Coming from the same Russian Mennonite background as the characters, I found the book too close to the truth and therefore depressing. The story lacked hope. Ironically, I found her non-fiction account of her father's suicide (Swing Low) more hopeful.

Apr 25, 2012
  • elinpat rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Toews is dependable for a good story. Again girl in Menonite household in canada. Brutal father. See catalogue comments and reviews.

Dec 22, 2011
  • vwruleschick rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Nomi is this teenage girl who lives with her dad in a Mennonite community in outside of Winnipeg. You hear about her closed off life and community and colorful family members. Then one day her sister takes off and then her mom disappears. It really is a story composed of elaborate interconnected parts that make up Nomi's life. Unfortunately, nothing great - just thought it was weird, but will try her other books.

Dec 11, 2011
  • gloryb rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Miriam Toews has a remarkable ability to aptly pick out the smallest details in her character's life and then poignantly describe these moments with a touch of humour. I stand in awe of this ability of hers which is continually evident in each of her novels. Her novels, to me, all "sound the same" with that wonderful chatty voice of hers coming through her characters. I know that her young adult characters are at a turning point in their lives as they work through some life changing problem...usually a social issue... and receive some illumination about themselves, their families, their friends, and their community. I would have liked more info on the dad character. He seems so weird, yet he is a grade 6 teacher. I would have preferred him to be a farmer or a business owner.

Aug 15, 2011
  • jandocr rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

It was a good book and I found it pretty interesting for the most part. I would recommend it! I found it a little frustrating with the lack of quotation marks, so sometimes I was confused in the conversations.

Jun 28, 2011
  • Goober1950 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Great book to own

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Jul 21, 2010
  • taraw104 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.

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Toews, Miriam, 1964-
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