ALL MY PUNY SORROWS (HARDCOVER)
The hardcover is out of stock, so be sure to check out our paperback edition!
This book is a New York Times 2015 Gift Guide Selection.
Elf and Yoli are sisters. While on the surface Elfrieda’s is an enviable life (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 own 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 comedy as it is tragedy, a goodbye grin from the friend who taught you how to live.
Check out Miriam Toews’ interview in the LA Review of Books.
Praise for All My Puny Sorrows:
Included in the New Republic’s Best Fiction of 2014
“I read ‘All My Puny Sorrows’ very recently and fell in love with Miriam Toews’ work. That novel is totally unafraid of the dark wilderness of the mind and heart—seeing as it’s a novel largely preoccupied with suicide—and it also somehow manages to be really funny. It felt incredibly alive to me.”
—Laura van den Berg, Salon Magazine
“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
“[A] wrenchingly honest, darkly funny novel. (Grade: A)”
“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
“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
“[A] masterful, original investigation into love, loss and survival.” —Kirkus (Starred Review)
“It requires a talented author to take a serious subject and write such an engaging, enjoyable work.
—Library Journal (starred)
“Touching and unexpectedly humorous.”
“‘All My Puny Sorrows’ is a bittersweet story about those who survive and those who can’t fight the current.”
“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
“Toews captures perfectly the conflict between a family wondering why their love isn’t enough and the suicidal woman whose suffering cannot be helped by their care. Yet in the midst of so much sorrow, Toews manages to illuminate moments of joy, hilarity and sheer emotion that will leave readers weak in the knees.”
“Funny and irresistibly warm” —BuzzFeed
“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
“Thanks to the prodigious talent of author Miriam Toews, ‘All My Puny Sorrows’ is an off-kilter, frequently funny and begrudgingly life-affirming romp through, well, death.” —The Los Angeles Times
“As jagged and ripped open as a freshly torn heart.” —The Boston Globe
“Fitful and seething” —The Rumpus
“Both funny and heartbreaking, this semi-autobiographical novel was the bravest book I read this year.” —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Soul-crushingly beautiful.” —The Oregonian
“’All My Puny Sorrows,’ by Miriam Toews, is the book that etched itself most deeply inside me this year, and I feel certain will become a lifelong companion. … Underneath the stunning writing and outrageous humor are insights — wise and profound — that test the boundaries of human rights and stretch the borders of love.”
—Naomi Klein, San Francisco Chronicle
“A touching examination of loss, of family, of life itself. … an exquisite, lasting elegy.” —The Seattle Times“Toews is truly distinct, hilarious even when she’s dealing with the most heartbreaking and bleak of subjects.” —The New Republic