Knopf, 2011 (2011)
Read an Excerpt
Reviewed by Michael Graves
iriam Toews' new book
dazzles the reader from the very beginning. This is a very well written book about a Mennonite family living in Mexico. The characters are colourful and intriguing for the reader to follow. Toews claimed never to revisit her Mennonite roots, but thankfully she did.
ithin the first three paragraphs of
the reader is hooked by smart writing that is absurdly witty. The characters are all engaging, but especially Irma who is always fresh and resourceful.
rma is eighteen and escapes a domineering and abusive father by leaving her home, a Mennonite colony in rural Mexico for the fast pace of Mexico City. With her are her two younger sisters. The youngest, a newborn, was thrust on her by her mother, hoping that Irma might provide her a better future.
efore her departure, Irma worked as a translator on a local movie set. This too, is an allegory for escape from the strictures of family life. Irma provides amazingly well for her new family and the relationship with her sister, Aggie, is both loving and charming.
This book is a pleasure to read and the protagonist, Irma Voth, will remain with the reader a long time after the last page in the book is closed.
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