December 24, 2004

A Complicated Kindness

Another page-turner, A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews is a story about a Mennonite family in southern Manitoba. Jessica lent it to me on the voyage here and I swallowed it whole, in just a couple of days of reading. A very interesting study of teenage angst in a complicated religious setting. Told from the point of view of sixteen year old Nomi who has little more to look forward to than killing chickens in the local factory, her pithy understanding of her life is both amusing and painful.

She describes her culture as one that doesnít separate church and state but does separate feeling and reason. Where people are excommunicated for disobeying religious codes, separated from their families, friends; shunned. Where people are forced to chose between love and church. The book evolves around discovering why both her mother and sister were forced to leave the community. In a town where Main Street leads nowhere, just ends in dust, and there is no train, no easy exit, the story unfolds to an astonishing, sad, pointed ending.

A short book; a good read. But now, after three books in two weeks, Iím having a hard time settling into another one. Iíve picked up and discarded two already. I feel naked without a book to read. At least the climate is warm here.

Posted by leya at December 24, 2004 12:36 PM