All My Puny Sorrows Paperback – 2 Apr 2015
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What holds this novel together, stops it from becoming saturated with sorrow, is a wit so sharp it hurts to laugh at certain scenes ... [Toews] also takes us on a heart-rending journey through her characters' emotional landscapes, via the cruel terrain of despair in which Elf becomes stranded, shedding light on the darkest of places. (Paperback of the Week The Observer)
Brilliant, heart-breaking, funny. (Nina Stibbe)
All My Puny Sorrows ... How Toews makes it all so funny is genius. Extraordinary. (Jessie Burton)
Sadness might be the central theme of the novel, but it isn't the dominant tone. From its arresting opening sentence to its heart-catching last line, it is jaunty, matter-of-fact and full of zest and verve ... as in her other novels, Toews writes in a cool, deceptively simple voice that moves seamlessly between the memory of past joy and the sometimes surprising banality of present pain. This often edges towards poetry ... The novel she has written - so exquisitely that you'll want to savour every word - reads as if it has been wrenched from her heart. (Christina Patterson Sunday Times)
Toews' remarkable novel ... ironic for a book with self-annihilation as its subject, bursts with ramshackle, precious life. Full of eccentricities and casual, apposite quoting of literature, its tragicomedy and humaneness recall the best of John Irving. (Catherine Taylor Sunday Telegraph)
To write powerful fiction out of personal events of such magnitude is hard, surely almost unbearably so, but the result is a novel that reaches beyond the limits of itself. (Sophie Elmhirst Financial Times)
The mixture of grief, numbness, and a sensation of being removed from one's life and observing from above, are starkly captured ... Toews captures perfectly the conflicting feelings when a loved one wants to die: sorrow, confusion, guilt, frustration and even anger. Yet, unbelievably, this book is full of humour ... This is a powerful and enthralling book. Toews has previously been long-listed for the Orange (now Baileys) Prize. I hope to see this on prize lists in the near future. (Leyla Sanai Independent)
[Toews] has produced a masterly book of such precise dignity. It is, also against all the odds, at times a desperately humorous novel. (Daily Mail)
[T]his excellent book tells a difficult story with dazzling lightness of touch ... Very smart, very funny, and completely heartbreaking. (Metro)
All My Puny Sorrows . . . is wonderfully funny and tragic at the same time. Toews is a major talent and her novel grips the heart. (Justin Cartwright Guardian)
All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews is a story of sisters, suicide and how to carry on with hope when grief loads the heart.See all Product description
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And..in the midst of mental illness and crisis there are amazing laugh out loud phrases
"Living with my mother is like living with Winnie the Pooh"
There is no end to my admiration for this book and this author, they have taken hallowed position next to 'To Kill a Mockingbird' and Harper Lee, my other favourites of all time.
Beautifully and subtly written, Toews does not deliver the usual life-affirming pap, but the best combination of dark truth and humour.