the flying troutmans

while contemplating which of my miriam toews books i will bring to her reading for signing, i decided that my copy of the flying troutmans would be perfect since it's a hardcover first edition (i've got to be strategic about these things). only, i hadn't read it yet, and although her reading isn't until may, i can sometimes be a slow reader and often mull over a novel for weeks at a time. so i figured i would get a head start and hopefully be finished in the two months allotted. except, it didn't take me two months to read, it took me three days (my record for reading a whole novel is two). i ate this book up over the past weekend and got cranky if anyone suggested i put it down to join the real world. it was SO GOOD!

miriam toews is one of my favorite authors. not only is she canadian (full disclosure: i'm obsessed with canadian literature) but her stories are everything i love in a good book, dark and sad with a lot of quirky humour. it's, for me, a perfect mix. i was first introduced to her by my fellow bibliophile, natalie jean, who insited i read a complicated kindness, which quickly fell into my list of top ten favorite novels. then she sent me a link to toews' contribution on the website, open letters, which made me fall even more in love (if that was even possible). when i found some of her stories/excerpts on geist, i decided to spend all of my chapters gift cards i got at christmas on all of toews' books.

the flying troutman tells the story of hattie, a 28 year old woman, who takes her niece and nephew on a road trip when the children's mother (hattie's sister) falls ill. its one of those stories that i found myself easily embracing all of the characters; hattie, who is a little lost and suddenly overwhelmed by responsibility, logan, her fifteen-year old nephew who is full to the brim with hopeless angst, and thebes, her eleven year old niece who is happily embracing weirdom all while secretly wishing she hadn't been born. and toews nails the family dynamic, you know the one where you simultaneously love and hate your family members, especially when stuck in a vehicle crossing the country (this is something i am very familiar with having grown up a military brat).

there really is so much going on in this novel and it's so much more than just a book about a road trip. i think in essence, toews is examining the effects of mental illness on those who love and care for the person suffering, in this case, hattie's sister. it is heartbreaking, yet redemptive. trust me, you will find yourself laughing at the absurd things coming out of thebes' mouth one minute and bawling your eyes out over logan description of why he likes to play basketball the next.

yea, just read it.

1 comment:

Natalie Jean said...

I will definitely just read this ! I saw it on my Aunt's bookshelf last week and we've agreed that I will borrow it, I am so glad you liked it , a lot of people I talk to about toews' books always say nothing compares to a complicated kindness, and i was sad they felt that way... now you've intrigued me to not take this novel for granted!