#48 – Irma Voth – Miriam Toews

Irma Voth entangles love, longing and dark family secrets. The stifling, reclusive Mennonite life of nineteen-year-old Irma Voth – newly married and newly deserted and as unforgettable a character as Nomi Nickel in A Complicated Kindness – is irrevocably changed when a film crew moves in to make a movie about the community.

She embraces the absurdity, creative passion and warmth of their world but her intractable and domineering father is determined to keep her from it at all costs.

The confrontation between them sets her on an irrevocable path towards something that feels like freedom as she and her young sister, Aggie, wise beyond her teenage years, flee to the city, upheld only by their love for each other and their smart wit, even as they begin to understand the tragedy that has their family in its grip.

Irma Voth delves into the complicated factors that set us on the road to self-discovery and how we can sometimes find the strength to endure the really hard things that happen. And as Gustavo, a taxi driver, says, you go on, you live and you laugh and you are compassionate toward others.

It also asks that most difficult of questions: How do we forgive? And most importantly, how do we forgive ourselves? – Publishers Website

I really loved this novel, Miriam brings together things that you wouldn’t normally hear or see – Mennonites and Mexico.  She brings them together so swiftly, that you can’t imagine them ever being from two different worlds.    Of course there is something amiss in the family to make the oldest daughter go and marry the first man she comes across just to anger her father, but as she does this something weakens, she is an outcast from the only family she is known, never to return to her family ever again.

What I wasn’t expecting what happens at the end of the novel, which, I won’t and probably ever won’t spill the beans at least on here, because,  you know that’s how I roll.  But wow it really packed a punch, just the immensity of what actually happened just blew me away.  Not only shocked, but angry that someone could do that and still not have any sort of consciousness about it, or the consequences.  I am still shaking my head as I think about that moment and a few before that…How could they do that ?!?

Anyhow, go and get it.  I read her previous novel The Flying Troutmans when it was published and absolutely loved it.  If you have read any of her other previous books, you will love this one for sure.  Trust me right?

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