Helpful votes received on reviews: 100% (8 of 8)
Location: Brighton


Top Reviewer Ranking: 2,318,484 - Total Helpful Votes: 8 of 8
Irma Voth by Miriam Toews
Irma Voth by Miriam Toews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I really urge you to go to your bookshop and read the first 7 pages of this book. They won't mind, especially as you'll probably buy it. The novel begins with Irma, the eponymous narrator, trying, unsuccessfully, to stop her husband from leaving. This is immediately followed by an account of how they fell in love. The first few pages also show Irma's major characteristics: in the face of cruelty, she often responds with kindness and warmth and humour, and she has a huge longing to be loved. It's a beautiful opening, and much more technically complex than it first appears. Seven pages, and I was in bits. Laughing, crying, the works.

Irma is 19, and sews dangerous words like… Read more
A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews
A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nomi, 24 Mar 2007
Nomi, the narrator of this novel, is an amazing creation. Her wry, weary but spirited voice counters the bleakness of her situation in such a moving way, that I found myself suppressing my laughter in case I started crying in public. It's such a difficult balance, and Toews just nails it.

There's a passage where Nomi describes the alarmingly morbid syntax of a foreign woman in the town, who, by putting the noun at the end of a sentence, always sounds like she's describing an act of violence. She says things like "Throw me down the stairs a face cloth" or "slice me open a bun". It took me a while to work that out, but that's one of the funniest bits of observational dialogue… Read more