Beautiful, frank, honest, and funny - this is Miriam Toews at her best. Just when the heaviness of the story becomes too much to bear, she'll make a wickedly funny observation and take a deep breath. This was one of my favorite books of 2014.
Suicide and depression, those oft-choked nuggets of contemporary literature, are a tricky terrain — but one Toews handles deftly. The ache and anger of the people left to witness and endure are not wrought darkly but with honesty and precision, tempered with the shocks of humor and relief we experience when confronted by life's inevitable finality, self-inflicted or not.
Heartbreaking and wryly amusing in equal measure, All My Puny Sorrows is probably the truest rendering of a family grappling with the realities of mental illness that I have ever read. — From Sam
November 2014 Indie Next List
“How does one craft a novel that tackles such difficult and controversial subjects as depression, euthanasia, and suicide without coming across as morbid and morose? Just read Miriam Toews All My Puny Sorrows. With great style and wit, Toews has created a tale that is at once heartbreaking and hysterical. Following the story of two sisters, Elf and Yoli, All My Puny Sorrows deals with the hardships of Elf's depression and desire to end her life. Beautifully written, rich with tenderness and compassion, this novel keeps you alternating between laughter and tears, captivated from start to finish.”
— Claire Roser, Maria's Bookshop, Durango, CO
A "New York Times" 2015 Holiday Gift Guide selection. Elf and Yoli are sisters. While on the surface Elfrieda's is an enviable life (she's a world-renowned pianist, glamorous, wealthy, and happily married) and Yolandi's a mess (she's divorced and broke, with two teenagers growing up too quickly), they are fiercely closeraised in a Mennonite household and sharing the hardship of Elf's desire to end her own life. After Elf's latest attempt, Yoli must quickly determine how to keep her family from falling apart, how to keep her own heart from breaking, and what it means to love someone who wants to die. "All My Puny Sorrows" is the latest novel from Miriam Toews, one of Canada's most beloved authors not only because her work is rich with deep human feeling and compassion, but because her observations are knife-sharp and her books wickedly funny. And this is Toews at her finest: a story that is as much comedy as it is tragedy, a goodbye grin from the friend who taught you how to live.
About the Author
Miriam Toews is the author of five previous novels: "Summer of My Amazing Luck," "A Boy of Good Breeding," "A Complicated Kindness," "The Flying Troutmans," and "Irma Voth, " and one work of nonfiction, "Swing Low: A Life." She lives in Toronto.