A Complicated Kindness

A Complicated Kindness Review

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.

Title:A Complicated Kindness
Edition Language:English

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    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Shiela

    Meh... I know several of my esteemed colleagues highly rated this one but it just didn't do it for me. There were too many unanswered questions and not enough closure. So what happened to the mom and ...

  • Brad

    As I read Miriam Toews' A Complicated Kindness, I couldn't stop thinking about Richard Dawkins' assertion that religion is child abuse.Looking around at our neighbours and friends, ourselves and our p...

  • maymay ?

    I'm going to refer to this as the 'chicken book' Required school reading And I have finally completed the chicken book. With books that I must read for school, I’m often at a loss when I’m aske...

  • jo

    it was hard to let this book end. as the remaining pages dwindled and dwindled, i found more and more things to do instead of reading. maybe i should brush my teeth. maybe i should check my email. may...

  • Julie Christine

    "some people can leave and some can't and those who can will always be infinitely cooler than those who can't and I'm one of the ones who can't because you're one of the ones who did and there's this...

  • Andrea

    “I hated it” was my loud outburst when a nice polite dinner conversation with friends turned to the discussion of this book. My outburst surprised me, not because it was loud and obnoxious since I...

  • Bonnie

    Governor General’s Award 2004Shortlisted for Giller 2006Winner Canada Reads 2006Half-way through reading A Complicated Kindness it struck me that the only way Miriam Toews could write in such an aut...

  • Nine

    (A slightly edited version of this review appears at The Rumpus.)I started reading A Complicated Kindness on my last day in Barcelona. I ran away to Barcelona because of a girl. Also I’d been grumpy...

  • Terence

    My friend Stefanie (who recommended the book) and I share a love of reading but rarely do our Venn diagrams overlap except when it comes to novels about alienated, mixed-up teens.Nomi Nickel joins Dan...

  • Maciek

    Miriam Toews's third novel - and the first one I've read - won the Governor General's Award for Fiction and was nominated for the Giller Prize; it also won the 2006 edition of Canada reads, the first ...