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Extended Audio Sample The Flying Troutmans 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 (2,743 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Miriam Toews Narrator: Amy Rutherford Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2018 ISBN: 9780735274808
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"Min was stranded in her bed, hooked on the blue torpedoes and convinced that a million silver cars were closing in on her (I didn't know what Thebes meant either), Logan was in trouble at school, something about the disturbing stories he was writing, Thebes was pretending to be Min on the phone with his principal, the house was crumbling around them, the black screen door had blown off in the wind, a family of aggressive mice was living behind the piano, the neighbours were pissed off because of hatchets being thrown into their yard at night (again, confusing, something to do with Logan) … basically, things were out of control. And Thebes is only eleven."
–from The Flying Troutmans

Days after being dumped by her boyfriend Marc in Paris – "he was heading off to an ashram and said we could communicate telepathically" – Hattie hears her sister Min has been checked into a psychiatric hospital, and finds herself flying back to Winnipeg to take care of Thebes and Logan, her niece and nephew. Not knowing what else to do, she loads the kids, a cooler, and a pile of CDs into their van and they set out on a road trip in search of the children's long-lost father, Cherkis.

In part because no one has any good idea where Cherkis is, the traveling matters more than the destination. On their wayward, eventful journey down to North Dakota and beyond, the Troutmans stay at scary motels, meet helpful hippies, and try to ignore the threatening noises coming from under the hood of their van. Eleven-year-old Thebes spends her time making huge novelty cheques with arts and crafts supplies in the back, and won't wash, no matter how wild and matted her purple hair gets; she forgot to pack any clothes. Four years older, Logan carves phrases like "Fear Yourself" into the dashboard, and repeatedly disappears in the middle of the night to play basketball; he's in love, he says, with New York Times columnist Deborah Solomon. Meanwhile, Min can't be reached at the hospital, and, more than once, Hattie calls Marc in tears.

But though it might seem like an escape from crisis into chaos, this journey is also desperately necessary, a chance for an accidental family to accept, understand or at least find their way through overwhelming times. From interwoven memories and scenes from the past, we learn much more about them: how Min got so sick, why Cherkis left home, why Hattie went to Paris, and what made Thebes and Logan who they are today.

In this completely captivating book, Miriam Toews has created some of the most engaging characters in Canadian literature: Hattie, Logan and Thebes are bewildered, hopeful, angry, and most of all, absolutely alive. Full of richly skewed, richly funny detail, The Flying Troutmans is a uniquely affecting novel. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Toews’s writing is a unique collision of sadness and humour. . . . The Flying Troutmans is a dark story but it is also a never-ending series of hilarious adventures. Ottawa Citizen
  • “Engaging, humorous, grim, and redemptive, this is essential reading. Library Journal
  • “It’s darkly funny, bursting at the seams with quirky characters and off-kilter pop culture references that rival Douglas Coupland’s for their incisive wit. The Vancouver Sun
  • “Toews may have invented a new genre, the romantic-depressive comedy, at which she excels. Toronto Star
  • “Toews has a terrific ability to capture the mix of irony and innocence in a smart child’s mind. . . . She balances heartbreak with laugh-out-loud wit. Edmonton Journal
  • “Toews writes . . . in a high-energy original voice filled with love, fear, humour and originality. Miriam Toews is an extraordinarily gifted writer, one who writes 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

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tricia | 2/19/2014

    " This is kind of an odd, sweet, occasionally disturbing book. It reminds me a bit of the Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver. Very interesting characters, particularly the children. I liked it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brenda | 2/14/2014

    " Love this book so far. Memorable characters and an interesting twist on the archetypal journey. A must read for those who appreciate characters that are somewhat "defective". "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lucia | 1/21/2014

    " Very Funny!! I read the pre-edited copy from work and it is funny. I was going to share it, but there were so many good parts, I had to mark them and make the book my own. I wonder how the published one differs?? Amazing how serious insanity and family disfunction can still be so damn funny. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jill B | 1/15/2014

    " I was sooooo disappointed by this one. To be honest, I still haven't finished it. I will one day bc I'm still hopeful that it will turn around. Just not doing a thing for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alison | 1/14/2014

    " I enjoyed this journey with the dis functional family. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Angela | 1/5/2014

    " Thebes, Logan, Min and Hattie are hard characters to shake even after having read this book months ago. Even more than Toews' eccentric characters, I enjoyed Hattie's inner dialogue which gave voice to her thoughts about her sister, Min, and why she is the way she is. Anyone who has loved someone with mental illness or addictions will appreciate the truth that resonates in Hattie's thoughts. However, the ending left me with more questions than answers and the overall plot was a bit flimsy. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Claire | 12/30/2013

    " I didn't like this one as much as A Complicated Kindness. I wish I had taken more time to enjoy the banter/dialogue between the characters (which was probably the only real redeeming factor) - instead I kept waiting for the plot to go somewhere which it didn't. Funny if you go into it expecting nothing more. (some of my bookclub girls did give it a thumbs up, so maybe it's just me!) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debbie | 12/30/2013

    " I really liked this book. Big fan of Miriam Toews. Have read all her books and loved or liked them all and they are all really different. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Helen | 12/26/2013

    " I enjoyed this book. It was a different writing style as the author did not use quotation marks when the characters spoke. It was a great road trip. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer Weber | 12/18/2013

    " These characters are unforgettable... quirky, relentlessly charming, yet I wouldn't know how to act around them if I had the occasion to meet them. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Valerie | 12/10/2013

    " This was funny for a book about a family dealing with severe mental illness. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jill Basinger | 10/5/2013

    " Interesting journey with an unusual "family". I laughed out loud when the meaning of the title was revealed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Magdalena | 3/24/2013

    " So, I loved it. It was loveable, funny, sad and thought provoking. Loved how it explored various relationships...and travel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wendy | 1/31/2013

    " A really funny book, in a darkly light-hearted way! I loved the Thebes character! The author really captures the essence and language of family dysfunction, but it still has a hopeful edge to it and there are only rare moments of hopelessness. A great read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Romina | 1/29/2013

    " I laughed and then I wept. This book captures the essence of family- dysfunctional. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anne Marie | 8/30/2012

    " I love when people write without out using quotations marks. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Donna | 6/11/2012

    " I kept thinking that this book had to get better. It didn't! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mrs. Mcafee | 4/15/2012

    " This book was above average -if you like quirky families and unorthodox interaction this would be an amusing read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gordon | 4/13/2012

    " Crazy and yet at the same time utterly plausible and in so many ways totally familiar... Three cheers for hanging in there! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Thalia | 12/16/2011

    " unusual, but fun. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carol | 8/25/2011

    " I really loved this book - didn't expect to as I had not liked her previous one much but this was well written and most entertaining about a disfunctional family on a road trip to find their father. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pam | 4/29/2011

    " This was a completely charming book! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Judy | 4/9/2011

    " This one had a strong start but it really lost me as the story carried on and became more and more unbelievable. Not one of Miriam's best and I still have high hopes for her new release, Irma Voth, which I will buy as soon as it is available for my eReader. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marcy | 4/6/2011

    " Like all Mianm Toews books it addresses the issue of mental health. While i can say I loved the story I would not say it lifted my spirits. Very touching story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Preeti | 4/5/2011

    " Bitter sweet tale.. Wonderful personalities with quirky delightful humor. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nykea | 3/22/2011

    " I love Toews. This book has amazing children characters, I instantly fell in love with them.

    Tragic and hilarious, like all her work. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joy | 3/21/2011

    " I really loved the characters and their relationships with each other. I will definitely read more books by Miriam Toews. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 2/27/2011

    " Super funny characters! Just loved those precocious kids! Well done. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laura | 2/24/2011

    " Fun and quirky book with dark themes that made me giggle and tear up at various points. Toews writes incredible dialogue, especially for the two young characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephen | 2/11/2011

    " I quite liked the quirky style of this - whatever about the characterisations being completely fantastical, I really enjoyed reading this. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marcie | 2/4/2011

    " Not a style of writing I usually like, but the characters made up for it and I enjoyed the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Corey | 1/18/2011

    " Funny and with a great narrative voice. She might be the Canadian Lorrie Moore. "

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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.