All My Puny Sorrows

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All My Puny Sorrows

by Miriam Toews

Knopf Canada | April 15, 2014 | Hardcover

All My Puny Sorrows is rated 4.7143 out of 5 by 7.
SHORTLISTED 2014 – Scotiabank Giller Prize

Miriam Toews is beloved for her irresistible voice, for mingling laughter and heartwrenching poignancy like no other writer. In her most passionate novel yet, she brings us the riveting story of two sisters, and a love that illuminates life.

 
You won’t forget Elf and Yoli, two smart and loving sisters. Elfrieda, a world-renowned pianist, glamorous, wealthy, happily married: she wants to die. Yolandi, divorced, broke, sleeping with the wrong men as she tries to find true love: she desperately wants to keep her older sister alive. Yoli is a beguiling mess, wickedly funny even as she stumbles through life struggling to keep her teenage kids and mother happy, her exes from hating her, her sister from killing herself and her own heart from breaking.
 
But Elf’s latest suicide attempt is a shock: she is three weeks away from the opening of her highly anticipated international tour. Her long-time agent has been calling and neither Yoli nor Elf’s loving husband knows what to tell him. Can she be nursed back to “health” in time? Does it matter? As the situation becomes ever more complicated, Yoli faces the most terrifying decision of her life.
 
All My Puny Sorrows, at once tender and unquiet, offers a profound reflection on the limits of love, and the sometimes unimaginable challenges we experience when childhood becomes a new country of adult commitments and responsibilities. In her beautifully rendered new novel, Miriam Toews gives us a startling demonstration of how to carry on with hope and love and the business of living even when grief loads the heart.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 336 pages, 8.33 × 5.54 × 1.18 in

Published: April 15, 2014

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0345808002

ISBN - 13: 9780345808004

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Heart and Wit Yoli's voice is so familiar, like the voice in my own head. Her arch commentary on what she sees is often hilarious but always reflects the kindness of this character who provides an intimate view of the love and responsibility that family involves. Her love for the women in her life - her sister, her mother, aunts, her daughter, and how much she appreciates their take on life, make clear how grounded and grateful for life she is. For that reason, she struggles to understand how her sister, Elf, could want to end her perfect life. However, she never gives up demanding that those around her sister treat her depression as a disease and not an artistic tantrum or affectation. Toews writes from her heart, with language so evocative, so perfect. She's like the voice in my head, only much better.
Date published: 2014-11-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from "To her I pour'd forth all my puny sorrows" There is an anecdote in "All My Puny Sorrows" where Yolandi recalls the tears that come streaming down her cheeks as she watches a video of a bird flying away after being nursed back to health by Yo's neighbour. "As I watched this short video something inside of me smashed, it was so startling and irreversible that starling's departure, and I was crying but trying not to, but it felt like I'd been tear-gassed." That was exactly the feeling Miriam Toews' sixth novel illicits. "All My Puny Sorrows" is a tremendous novel. It's challenging, oh so very challenging, to read because of its content on mental health, assisted death, religious upbringings, grief and loss. But Toews finds the light humour in some of these situations, and readers will appreciate the small reliefs sprinkled throughout the narrative. It's sometimes mundane, the things they do and say, but it's through this familiarity that we ease through the pain and find the comfort we need to make sense of hard times and tough choices. It encapsulates the kinship of sisterhood, of a mother and daughter, and of the ties that bind a family in good and bad times. Yolandi and Elfrieda are two memorable characters that will stay with me forever - "she wanted to die and I wanted her to live and we were enemies who loved each other." Fresh off the press, Toews' has won her second Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize for "All My Puny Sorrows." It's an important win in my opinion, with the very personal touch the novel has for her and with the relevancy of the issues brought up in it to the current debate on assisted death in this nation. Wouldn't Miriam Toews' "All My Puny Sorrows," Winner of the 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize, have a nice ring to it as well?
Date published: 2014-11-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing I am a Social Worker and work with people who suffer from depression. This novel was so accurate in terms of how people struggle. Amazing ............. I will recommend this to everyone!
Date published: 2014-08-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A life changer. I'm ready to start all over again from page one. This is why I read novels: to be reminded of my love for others, to be healed of my wounds, to laugh at my sorrows, to cry bittersweet tears. AMPS did all this for me. There's no-one I don't want to share it with. It's so clever and funny and well written. Toews's characters are real: glorious but not glorified, strong for accepting their weaknesses. At times, I worried Toews's wit would intrude on the emotion of a passage, or that she'd force levity, but she got the balance just right. It's a very sad story pitched beautifully and if you've lost someone close, you will be able to relate on a deeper level. The best.
Date published: 2014-07-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from All My Puny Sorrows Elf wants to die. A lifelong sufferer of depression, she just wants to end her life. Yoli, her sister, wants Elf to live. Yoli loves Elf and she can?t understand how someone who has it all - beauty, charm, a wicked sense of humour, a brilliant career as a famous pianist, a loving husband - could want out of this life. Yoli has none of these things, and she is determined to keep her sister alive. How does one write about such excruciatingly sad subjects and make the reader laugh? Miriam Toews knows how. She writes with such wit and humour that you cannot help but laugh out loud despite the subject matter. Her voice is so genuine that you feel you have known her all your life. And, she?s wise. Toews' wisdom permeates the writing in such a way that it surfaces even in the most unexpected moments, in the mundane of our daily lives, and of course, in the profound questions about family, duty, religion, life, and love. Miriam Toews? is quickly becoming one of my favourite Canadian authors, or rather, one of my favourite authors - period. Her writing, her voice is so unassuming as to make me think I could write; I can see my reflection in her words. But I?m not really fooled. Such poignant writing only appears easy because it?s so relatable. Toews is a masterful storyteller.
Date published: 2014-07-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A favourite This book is so sad and at the same time there are numerous humourous moments. I loved the way the author made me, as a reader, feel every emotion on the pages. I had to stop reading once in a while to wait for the tears to stop, and then, on another page I would be laughing out loud. This book deals with a painful subject with a grace and tact that few authors could achieve. I loved it!
Date published: 2014-06-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must read. So beautifully written - so full of humanity, humour and love. Last night I finished reading Miriam Toews new book "All My Puny Sorrows". I so wanted this story to not end as I fell in love with the characters, their internal complexities, humanity and their lives. So beautifully written, exploring love relationships with family and friends in the most compelling way - journeys filled with great joy and unimaginable loss. Mental health, suicide, spirituality/religion, the sometimes elusive wells of self expression and creativity and how families and communities deal with these building blocks of what make us human - figure strongly in this book. Miriam is a brilliant story teller and her sense of humour and understanding of love holds it all together.
Date published: 2014-05-13

– More About This Product –

All My Puny Sorrows

by Miriam Toews

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 336 pages, 8.33 × 5.54 × 1.18 in

Published: April 15, 2014

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0345808002

ISBN - 13: 9780345808004

From the Publisher

SHORTLISTED 2014 – Scotiabank Giller Prize

Miriam Toews is beloved for her irresistible voice, for mingling laughter and heartwrenching poignancy like no other writer. In her most passionate novel yet, she brings us the riveting story of two sisters, and a love that illuminates life.

 
You won’t forget Elf and Yoli, two smart and loving sisters. Elfrieda, a world-renowned pianist, glamorous, wealthy, happily married: she wants to die. Yolandi, divorced, broke, sleeping with the wrong men as she tries to find true love: she desperately wants to keep her older sister alive. Yoli is a beguiling mess, wickedly funny even as she stumbles through life struggling to keep her teenage kids and mother happy, her exes from hating her, her sister from killing herself and her own heart from breaking.
 
But Elf’s latest suicide attempt is a shock: she is three weeks away from the opening of her highly anticipated international tour. Her long-time agent has been calling and neither Yoli nor Elf’s loving husband knows what to tell him. Can she be nursed back to “health” in time? Does it matter? As the situation becomes ever more complicated, Yoli faces the most terrifying decision of her life.
 
All My Puny Sorrows, at once tender and unquiet, offers a profound reflection on the limits of love, and the sometimes unimaginable challenges we experience when childhood becomes a new country of adult commitments and responsibilities. In her beautifully rendered new novel, Miriam Toews gives us a startling demonstration of how to carry on with hope and love and the business of living even when grief loads the heart.

About the Author

Miriam Toews is the author of five previous bestselling novels: Summer of My Amazing Luck, A Boy of Good Breeding, A Complicated Kindness (Canada Reads 2006, Canada Reads Canadian Bestseller of the Decade 2010), The Flying Troutmans, and Irma Voth, and one work of non-fiction, Swing Low: A Life.  She is a winner of the Governor General’s Award for Fiction, the Libris Award for Fiction Book of the Year, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and the Writers Trust Marian Engel/Timothy Findley Award. She lives in Toronto. 

Editorial Reviews

WINNER 2014 – Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize
SHORLISTED 2014 Giller Prize

"Brilliant.... Delicate braids of sadness and humour. Her most accomplished novel yet."
—The Globe and Mail 

"Poignant, heartbreaking, yet suffused with wit.... A stellar achievement.... A superb offering from a writer of rare originality and undisputed talent."
—The London Free Press
 

"Powerful and ultimately uplifting."
—Ottawa Citizen 

"Her fans will not be disappointed."
—Waterloo Region Record
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