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This book is a New York Times 2015 Gift Guide Selection.

Elf and Yoli are sisters. While on the surface Elfrieda’s life is enviable (she’s a world-renowned pianist, glamorous, wealthy, and happily married) and Yolandi’s a mess (she’s divorced and broke, with two teenagers growing up too quickly), they are fiercely close—raised in a Mennonite household and sharing the hardship of Elf’s desire to end her life. After Elf’s latest attempt, Yoli must quickly determine how to keep her family from falling apart, how to keep her own heart from breaking, and what it means to love someone who wants to die. All My Puny Sorrows is the latest novel from Miriam Toews, one of Canada’s most beloved authors—not only because her work is rich with deep human feeling and compassion but because her observations are knife-sharp and her books wickedly funny. And this is Toews at her finest: a story that is as much a comedy as it is a tragedy, a goodbye grin from the friend who taught you how to live.

Check out Miriam Toews’ interview in the LA Review of Books

A New York Times Sunday Book Review Paperback Row selection!

A New York Times Editors’ Choice pick for the week of November 26, 2014

One of The Washington Post’s top 50 fiction books for 2014

A Slate Book Review Favorite Books of the Year selection

A Boston Globe Best Fiction of 2014 Pick

One of Ms. Magazine’s Great Reads for Fall 2014

Praise for All My Puny Sorrows:

“Irresistible… its intelligence, its honesty and, above all, its compassion provide a kind of existential balm—a comfort not unlike the sort you might find by opening a bottle of wine and having a long conversation with (yes, really) a true friend.”
—Curtis Sittenfeld, The New York Times Book Review

“In the crucible of [Miriam Toews’] genius, tears and laughter are ground into some magical elixir that seems like the essence of life.”
—Ron Charles, The Washington Post

“[A] wrenchingly honest, darkly funny novel. (Grade: A)”
Entertainment Weekly

“This book, about a struggling Canadian writer who tries to keep her brilliant, wonderful, intractably depressed sister from committing suicide, sounds like a real downer. But it isn’t. You’d be hard-pressed to find a novel this life-affirming or one written with more playfulness, generosity and wit. “All My Puny Sorrows” (the title comes from a Coleridge poem) is an exuberant affirmation of family love, of the power of humor, of the responsibility we have toward one another. It’s still possible, the author demonstrates, to find meaning and joy amid tragedy.”
— Sarah Lyall, The New York Times 2015 Gift Guide Selection

“Bold, brash and big-hearted…. Toews writes from the point of view of Yoli, whose interior monologue reads like a cross between David Foster Wallace and Robin Williams if both were, in fact, a 40-something Mennonite woman with authority issues. She’s a smart aleck with heart, a philosopher with a comic’s timing.”
The Dallas Morning News

“It requires a talented author to take a serious subject and write such an engaging, enjoyable work.
Library Journal (starred)

“Touching and unexpectedly humorous.”
Marie Claire


“[A] sad, wise, often funny and very good novel.”
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“[A] bittersweet story about those who survive and those who can’t fight the current.”
Minneapolis StarTribune

“A harrowing and often very funny novel … Every page yields a surprise, a laugh, or a line that will make your breath catch in your throat.”
—Dan Kois, Slate

“[A] triumph in its depiction of the love the sisters share.”
Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“[A] masterful, original investigation into love, loss and survival.”
Kirkus (Starred Review)

“The premise of Toews’s sixth novel, released to critical acclaim in Canada earlier this year, is simple and devastating: there are two adult sisters, and one of them wants to die. She’s a wildly successful and in-demand concert pianist, but she longs for self-annihilation. It’s a premise that could easily be grindingly unbearable, but Toews is a writer of considerable subtlety and grace, with a gift for bringing flashes of lightness, even humor, to the darkest of tales.”
The Millions

“Toews writes with a sharp and piercing eye, offering characters and descriptions which are so odd and yet so spot-on that the reader has to laugh, albeit reluctantly.”

“A touching tribute and a captivating novel.”

“[Miriam Toews] has a wry, funny voice that is the readers’ steady companion. She also has an eye for the absurd and a perfect tragicomedic timing in delivery.”
Christian Century

“Toews is an extraordinarily gifted writer, with unsentimental compassion for her people and an honest understanding of their past, the tectonic shifts of their present and variables of their future.”
The Globe and Mail

“Funny and irresistibly warm”

“Toews infuses [All My Puny Sorrows] with humor and sympathy.”
—John Williams, NY1, The Book Reader

“As jagged and ripped open as a freshly torn heart.”
The Boston Globe