Monday, October 11, 2004

Miriam Toews, A Boy of Good Breeding, 1998.

When I read a book I like, by an author I've not read before, I tend to go a little bit overboard in terms of then reading a good chunk of stuff that he or she has written. Toews is currently getting my attention--I have two more to read after this one, and am looking forward to both.

That said, A Boy of Good Breeding is not in the same vein as A Complicated Kindness. This is deliberately funny, almost silly: this is small-town in the Mariposa sense, and not in the Horizon-sense. It's a book that seems nebulous, not as focused, as her most recent novel. It's the story of Hosea Funk, mayor of Algren, wanting to meet his father the Prime Minister by ensuring that Algren has exactly 1500 residents and is hence the smallest town in Canada; it's the story of Knute and her daughter Summer Feelin' trying to figure out how to live. Hosea's clueless-ness in life, governance, and love (his poor girlfriend, Lorna!) and Knute's haplessness & luckiness in life, work, and love are endearing. It's a cast of characters and an odd plot that makes you enjoy every moment you spend in Algren--and lament the fact that you'll read the book quickly enough that you wish you could have spent more time there. Like Mariposa, without being sent away back to the big city.