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A Complicated Kindness

A Novel

List Price: $16.95

January 12, 2016 | Paperback | 5 x 8, 256 Pages | ISBN 9781619026223
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"Brilliant... there is beauty and compassion in [Toews'] portrayal of Nomi's struggle." —New York Times Book Review

“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 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, readers will find this searing, tender, comic testament to family love difficult to forget.

MIRIAM TOEWS was born in the small Mennonite town of Steinbach, Manitoba. She has published five novels and a memoir of her father, and is the recipient of numerous literary awards in Canada, including the Governor General s Literary Award (for A Complicated Kindness) and the Rogers Writers Trust Fiction Prize (for The Flying Troutmans). In 2010 she received the prestigious Writers Trust Engel/Findley Award for her body of work. Irma Voth is Toews’ most recent novel. She lives in Toronto.

Praise

“Brilliant… there is beauty and compassion in [Toews’] portrayal of Nomi’s struggle.” —New York Times Book Review

“Offering incisive reflections on life, death and Lou Reed, the black-sheep Nomi is clearly wise beyond her years, and her voice is unique. the road to anywhere else may be rough for her, but her angst-ridden journey is unforgettable.” —People Magazine

“A darkly funny and provocative novel.” —O, the Oprah Magazine

“Bold, tender and intelligent, this is a clear-eyed exploration of belief and belonging, and the irresistible urge to escape both.” —Publishers Weekly

“Although Nomi’s story is depressing, her wry observations reflect normal adolescent angst leavened with a distinctly parochial irreverence. Teens with real issues as well as those who would benefit by realizing that they don’t have it so bad will find sadness and hope in Nomi’s thoughtful musings and root for her survival. The story is a metaphor for those torn between a present lack of fulfillment and the fear of moving toward the unfamiliar-in other words, growing up.” —School Library Journal

“Toews captures the spurts and lurches of adolescent growth in a tale as crude and fresh as its subject matter.” —Kirkus

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