All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews: dark and funny

All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews is a funny but tragic tale of two bright, sharp, witty sisters, Elf and Yoli, who are very different.


It covers big themes: love, religion (fundamentalism), psychiatric ‘care’ and the will to live; is there a ‘suicide gene’ and if so, is it inherited or due to upbringing?



Humour is the weapon and coping mechanism of Yoli, the narrating character, so although the book covers dark themes it is also very funny.


Written without direct dialogue, it’s a train of Yoli’s thoughts, and this works very well.


Set against a background of a Canadian Mennonite community in which the girls grew up, Yoli tries to help her beautiful, talented, happily-married concert pianist sister Elf who no longer wishes to live. I had tears in my eyes at the end.


This was actually a very light read which I raced through. Only when I got to the very end did I realise it was personal.



Thank you to my guest blogger, Annette Peppis.

Annette leads the team at Peppis Designworks, a creative hub of established publishing industry experts who create books, branding, marketing material and design templates for leading publishers and businesses. Keep in touch by subscribing to Annette’s bi-monthly emails.


If you've enjoyed this blog please comment, share and subscribe.


Buy the Amazon Book


simplygoodbooks is an Amazon Associate/Affiliate. This means that if you click on any affiliate links in this post and purchase a book from Amazon I earn a small commission at no extra charge to you from qualifying purchases, Thank you for your continued support.


Buy on Bookshop.org and support independent booksellers

I am an affiliate of Bookshop.org and I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.

28 views0 comments