July 20, 2011

Irma Voth, by Miriam Toews

I read A Complicated Kindness, an award-winning earlier work by the author, and while I liked it, I found the ending quite sad. So I wasn't really going to bother with Toews again, until I heard her on a CBC radio program. I liked her and I liked the bit of this book she read.

I liked Irma Voth a lot. It's about a young Mennonite girl from Canada who has moved to Mexico with her family. Her misogynist father disowns her when she marries a local boy, who then leaves her, and she ends up working with a film crew. Finally she runs away to Mexico City with her younger sister. I like the way things happen in this book. There are a lot of languages, and it all seems a bit surreal, especially when she says something and then immediately recants it- no, she just made that part up. There is a ghost of an older sister haunting them (not literally) and a wisp of a baby sister fighting them (more literally.) The ending isn't exactly bursting with happiness, but maybe that's just life.

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