A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews (95)

When I saw this book on a shelf at my local library, the title immediately resonated with me. Kindness is always complicated, and a life lived with kindness is also extremely hard to bring about. But this story was about much more than that.

I discovered this author just from browsing my library shelves. I just love new authors that I haven’t read before. This month, I read two stories by her and I will be reviewing both today.

This story explores the ties that bind families together and the forces that tear them apart. The story is written through Nomi Nickel, a heartbreaking bewildered and wry young woman trapped in a small Mennonite town that seeks to set her on the path to righteousness and smother her at the same time.

The story opens up with Nomi who tells us that she is left alone with her father Ray. Her days are spent piecing together the reasons her mother, Trudie, and her sister Natasha, have gone missing. She is trying to figure out what she can do to avoid a career at Happy Family Farms which is a chicken abattoir on the outskirts of East Village. This is not a neighborhood that she wants to live. She instead would love be on the small town in Southern Manitoba.

As Nomi gets to the bottom of the truth behind her mother’s and sister’s disappearance she finds herself on a direct collision course with her uncle and the only community she has ever known. But one startling act of defiance brings the story to a shattering conclusion, one that I will not soon forget.


About irenesroth

I am a freelance and academic writer. I am currently writing a book called `Fearless Freelance Writers`. Please look out for it soon on this blog.
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