Thursday, June 25, 2009
Louise recently asked, “I love Miriam Toews and her quirky style - one of my fave books is A Complicated Kindness - and I have been thinking about getting The Troutmans-book, but reading about it on Amazon, it didn't really appeal to me at all. So, I am curious to know if it has got the Toews-flavor?”
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, I was introduced to Miriam Toews. Okay, not really. But a couple of years when I was in Victoria, Canada, I did buy one of her books, A Complicated Kindness. And, like Louise, I loved it. It was quirky and different…a little out there, but then, I like out there.
More recently, I read another one of Toews‘ books, A Boy of Good Breeding. This one ended up being a bit of a disappointment. I thought the mayor was going to start offing people so he could preserve his town’s status as Canada’s smallest town. Because that seemed like such a Toews-like thing to happen. I still haven’t gotten over the disappointment. So going into The Flying Troutmans I was 1 and 1 with her books.
I can happily report I’m now 2 and 1. (2 being the wins column, for those of you who may not live with people who like to watch sporting events.) I’m not sure that it’s equal to A Complicated Kindness, but the characters are original and it sort of reminded me of “Little Miss Sunshine”, which is an awesome movie. (And I’m only making that connection because of the weird characters and a van and a road trip…the ending is in no way similar!)
Anyhoosie, back to the Troutmans. Hattie is living the ex-pat life in Paris when all of a sudden her life turns to shit. To begin with, she gets dumped. Then she learns that her sister Min is in desperate need of either an intervention or a hospital stay, which means that Hattie will have to return to the States to take care of Min’s kids. And Min’s kids are no picnic. Teenage Logan is a budding juvenile delinquent, while his younger sister Thebes is, um, unique? Creative? Protective? Kinda stinky because she hates to bathe? Aha…all of the above! While Min recovers, Hattie comes up with the not-so-swell idea of a road trip to find Logan and Hattie’s dad. To say that hilarity ensues wouldn’t really be true. There’s some angst. Some family bonding. And much weirdness.
So yes, it does have the Toews flavor. It might be a wee bit watered down, but I say go for it! In paperback. Or from the library.