Thursday, 30 July 2015

Book Club #19 - All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews

I had heard nothing but good things about All My Puny Sorrows since it came out, so when I saw it in a deal at Waterstones I knew I had to grab it. I've been trying to consciously read more books by women, and after reading this, I now want to read all books by Miriam Toews. That's probably a bit of a spoiler regarding to my review, isn't it?




All My Puny Sorrows focuses on two sisters - Elf, a world-renowned pianist who is happily married and wealthy, and Yoli, a divorced, broke woman who is sleeping with the wrong men. Although Elf might seem like she has her life on track, she wants nothing more than to die. Yoli, the sister with the life in shambles must try her damnedest to convince her older sister why she should live. Because life is worth living, right? 

I can't even begin to put into words how much I loved this book. The characters felt very real to me, in that they had their flaws and you wanted to scream at them, but also that they carried their love, guilt and sadness on their sleeves. Yoli is the narrator throughout All My Puny Sorrows, and although the timeline moves from her memories of her sister and their childhood to the current day, I never once thought she was unreliable or hard to follow. Although her life was far from she had hoped it would be, Yoli pushed everything aside to be there for her sister - even if it meant she had to confront the impossible question of whether it is better to let a loved one go. 

I don't want to give too much away, but this is a really powerful novel that makes you think again. I didn't realise until writing this review that it's actually 'inspired' by personal events from Toews' life, which I think really goes to show how excellent Toews' writing is. It's such a powerful, hard-hitting work of fiction that really goes above and beyond telling a story. Please, read this book!

Have you read All My Puny Sorrows? Have you read anything by Miriam Toews before?

Chelsea xo
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