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Extended Audio Sample A Complicated Kindness: A Novel Audiobook, by Miriam Toews Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (7,290 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Miriam Toews Narrator: Erin Moon Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2004 ISBN: 9781449814915
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Award-winning author Miriam Toews is known for her razor-sharp wit. In A Complicated Kindness, Mennonite Nomi Nichol belongs to “the most embarrassing subsect of people to belong to if you’re a teenager.” Her mother and sister have already fled their fundamentalist community in Manitoba. Now Nomi, fighting off despair, tries to find herself while hiding behind a façade of biting humor. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • … maintains a careful balance between hilarity and heartbreak that most readers will find unforgettable. Booklist, starred review

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ashley | 2/17/2014

    " Didn't finish the book but from what I read it wasn't my cup of tea "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heidi Willis | 2/12/2014

    " Toews' coming-of-age novel about a teen girl struggling with her faith in an oppressive Mennonite community is at once funny and heart-breaking. Nomi Nichols is a girl who rebels at every point, dreaming of escaping her small town and the control of the Mouth - her uncle and head of the church. It would be easy to dismiss Nomi as just a kid hell-bent on breaking every rule and ruining her life with drugs and sex and truancy. But when Nomi's sister and mother both flee the town and the church, Nomi is the only one left to hold together the broken pieces of her father's life. She is both bitter and poignant in her dealings with faith, and Toews writes in a way that grabs the heart. The more control the church takes, the more her family spins out of control, and the entire book might easily be summed up in Nomi's words: "I think now I'd call it grief. It's hard to grieve in a town where everything that happens is God's will. It's hard to know what to do with your emptiness when you're not supposed to have emptiness." There are no easy endings to this story, but what Toews leaves Nomi - and her readers - with is hope. Small and fragile and impossibly difficult, but hope nonetheless. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mew | 1/24/2014

    " sad...sweet...unusual "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Marilyn | 1/23/2014

    " I really didn't get this book--about the only thing I learned is that the Mennonites were started by a guy named Menno Simon. There seemed to be a lot of angry people in this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather Buck | 1/21/2014

    " The narrative voice that tells the story of "a complicated kindness" is highly compelling. She is sarcastic, honest and intelligent. Life is getting her down in a small western Mennonite town, and no wonder. Things could be better. I felt that the thoughts of a sixteen year old in crisis were very accurately portrayed and that the novel was indearingly funny and human. My favourite of Miriam Toewes works. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judy | 1/18/2014

    " well written but subject matter was sad. protagonist was like a Mennonite Holden Caulfield. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ingrid | 1/13/2014

    " Top book for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Fran | 1/11/2014

    " Funny and heartbreaking. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Reidjules | 1/4/2014

    " Not my favorite. Interesting to have a behind the scenes look into a colony, but I had to chew through it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Becca | 11/21/2013

    " This book was so depressing. I am glad I read it but don't read it if you want something happy! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Johanne | 10/24/2013

    " I was disappointed by the ending of this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisalou50 | 10/9/2013

    " Small town Canadian fiction, really good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tim Rynders | 10/6/2013

    " Really enjoyed the dark witty humor throughout. Quick read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erin | 9/30/2013

    " If you are a fan of the plot-driven novel, this is not your book. If, however, you appreciated character-driven novels, no one is better than Toews. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Car | 6/7/2013

    " Not bad... the main character definately was complicated. LOL! I did empathise, but couldn`t relate at all. I was engaged throughout the book, but was not knocked off my feet. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Teddy | 4/28/2013

    " Deeply depressing but ironically funny in parts. I actually rated it 3 1/2 stars. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 4/20/2013

    " Loved it....quirky, great narrator, dark humour, a must-read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa | 11/22/2012

    " I have to say I was a little disappointed with this book. It was good, but the way it is written is a little confusing for me. Did manage to finish but not sure I liked the ending..... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karen Vastine | 7/12/2012

    " This book is by far the best I've read this year. Miriam Toews's power of description and sense of humor hit the mark. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 reed | 6/19/2012

    " Very entertaining and well-written, but not enough forward movement in the plot to keep me engaged. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Denise | 12/2/2011

    " I have not gotten through much of it, it is ok, just not what i am looking for in a book right now. It is about a high school girl, around the same time I was a HS girl, still gives me angst! It is well written, and I am sure anyone else would enjoy it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jodie | 10/12/2011

    " A compelling story. Had no idea where this was going. Y "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 shelley smith | 8/12/2011

    " interesting story, well written.. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janet McLarty Fretter | 8/8/2011

    " This book was such a great ride! Alternately hysterical and tragic, a very original voice in this coming of age book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tracy Morton | 8/8/2011

    " An interesting look at the life of a Mennonite girl and her family as they battle between their religious teachings and the pull of the modern world. You really get the feeling that this story has been written by a teenager in angst. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Annie | 5/20/2011

    " totally enjoyable - i love the voice of the young girls in a segregated religious community. I want to go slooooow reading this to relish every word. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kate | 5/9/2011

    " The strength to think for oneself. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 5/3/2011

    " A Canadian coming of age story of a girl who's mother and sister leave the family at different times. The reader isn't sure why till the end. It's a rambling sort of story where it's not so much as linear as flashes of memory. It was enjoyable and funny and I didn't want it to end. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Margo | 5/1/2011

    " kind of a downer - I am still worried about the lead character though...hope she finds some brightness and sunshine soon. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Misty | 4/28/2011

    " I was hoping that this book would have more insight into the Mennonite religion as it had promised. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Greg | 4/13/2011

    " Cdn. Author, Governor General Award and Giller Prize Short list. A wonderful story of human emotions and the enslavement of a Mennonite community in Manitoba. I loved this book and the way the author exposed me to Canadiana that I wasn't aware of. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jon | 4/6/2011

    " So well written and so wise. One of my favorite books I've read this year. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bryan | 4/5/2011

    " Meh, has potential but, lacks structure. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carly | 4/5/2011

    " April 6th, 2k11 - so far? I'm only giving this a 3. It doesn't really turn my crank.

    But I'm seeing it through - it's only 3 disks of audio. Something to do while playing some serious jig saw or maajong.

    ...........

    Finished - and still feel the same way - a 3. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judy | 4/3/2011

    " I read this quite some time ago and loved it. I am now about to start Irma Voth also by Miriam Toews and apparently a follow on to this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Terri | 3/17/2011

    " A beautiful book about a rebellious teen growing up in a stifling Mennonite community. Somewhat Catcher in the Rye-esque. Funny, heartbreaking, adventurous and real. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather | 3/15/2011

    " This took me a little while to get into, the rhythm is kind of different and, at times, for me, hard to follow, but I ended up really, really liking it. I don't think everyone would love it (though I know a few who REALLY would), but it's good. How's that for vague? "

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About the Author
Author Miriam Toews

Miriam Toews is the recipient of numerous literary awards in Canada, including the Governor General’s Literary Award and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. In 2010 she received the prestigious Writers’ Trust Engel/Findley Award for her body of work.

About the Narrator

Erin Moon has narrated dozens of audiobooks, including titles by Sharon Creech, Erin Hunter, and Jackson Pearce, and has won an AudioFile Earphones Award.