A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews


Waterstones Synopsis:

Her uncle, known as The Mouth, is head of the church, responsible for the harsh laws and cruel ‘shunning’, yet that doesn’t stop Nomi falling for the town’s most unsuitable boy – Travis. In such a secretive and god-fearing community, Nomi finds it impossible to find ways to express her many and growing passions. And despite her wish to keep everything together and look after her father, Nomi finds herself drawn towards revelations and self destruction, with Travis at her side.

I did not enjoy this book at all. I found it boring, unsettling and dissatisfying. The book follows Nomi as she struggles with life after her mother and sister both left her and her dad. Her dad is a man who has shut himself up and lives in a bubble to protect himself from hurt and anguish. Nomi wants to know why half her family left and her exploration leads her down a road of self-destruction.

The world she lives in is like a cult, which I found a bit unsettling to read about. They are so strict that even music is banned. Their community is so backward that tourists came to watch them go about their day-to-day lives. I didn’t like any of the characters. I couldn’t relate to any of them and I found them irritating.

I thought the writing was pretentious and arrogant. I don’t know what message Toews was trying to get across but I missed it and felt a bit patronised as I read the book. This is the second Toews novel I have read and I found them both similar, and not a huge fan of either. Her writing style bugged me, and I found the lack of punctuation really irritating.

Sadly I can’t really think of anything good to say about this book.


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