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Barbara Taylor: My Mennonite Conversion, 2 June 2005

A Complicated Kindness 
by Miriam Toews.
Faber, 246 pp., £7.99, June 2005, 0 571 22400 8
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... Nomi Nickel, the 16-year-old narrator of Miriam Toews’s A Complicated Kindness, is one of the damned. Abandoned by her family, betrayed by her boyfriend, shunned by her community, she sits alone in an empty house, dreaming of lost happiness. This is the unpropitious end-scene from which Toews, winner of the 2004 Canadian Governor General’s Literary Award, unspools a blackly comedic tale of teenage life in East Village, a one-church Mennonite town in southern Manitoba where pastors rule and apostates receive no quarter ...

Murderous Thoughts

Lauren Oyler: ‘Women Talking’, 22 November 2018

Women Talking 
by Miriam Toews.
Faber, 216 pp., £12.99, August 2018, 978 0 571 34032 3
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... electricity and even rubber wheels on carriages are verboten. According to a note at the start of Miriam Toews’s novel, Women Talking is ‘both a reaction through fiction’ to the rapes in the Manitoba Colony, and an act of ‘female imagination’. The title is descriptive: eight women of three generations sit in a barn, discussing what they should ...

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