Book Review of Miriam Toews’ ‘A Complicated Kindness’

I read Miram Toews’ ‘A Complicated Kindness’ after reading ‘Women Talking’. I was looking for something more accessible and frankly, something a little more fun to read. ‘A Complicated Kindness’ filled the bill well.
I see many comparisons of the principal character, Nomi Nickel, to Holden Caulfield in ‘Catcher in the Rye’, but I empathized more with Nomi. Same teenage angst, but a more caring protagonist.
The voice is smart-alecky, world-weary at times, a little too precociously cliche, but the honest fear and confusion of this young woman is compelling. I found myself almost immersed into her world, but bumped out by the weird behaviour of so many of the characters. It rattled my suspension of disbelief a few too many times. And the ending was a bit of a Cinderella story, saved by the prince. In this way, the ending echoed ‘All My Puny Sorrows’.
Spoiler: The last five or ten pages through a bit of a curve ball. I like surprises, but the reader should be able to think “Yes! That is what I should have seen coming.” I didn’t see any clues to the weird wrap with Trudie. And I would have liked to have seen a more active agency taken by Ms Nickel, but that is a minor quibble.
But it is really well written. Dense prose that covers a lot of ground, but feels light to read. There is a lot going on here and it is worthwhile for a reader to take some breaks and digest it all. A really good novel.