It already feels like 2018 was a loooong time ago, but here it is: the list of books I read in 2018. Fiction comes first, followed by nonfiction.
Hope you find some good reading choices here. And send me your recommendations!
All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews
Nothing is better than feeling so stunned by a novel’s power and originality that you linger over the last page, reluctant to leave the world the book has created. This is such a novel. Elfrieda and Yolandi are two sisters who grew up in a Mennonite community in the plains of Manitoba, Canada. They and their mother are far too lively for the conservative community; the elders think they read too many books, and are horrified when it becomes clear that Elfrieda is a piano prodigy. The girls grow up, move to the city and embark on their adult lives: Elfie as a world-class concert pianist, and Yoli as a writer and mother. They live in the modern world but come from a death-haunted history with suicides on all branches of the family tree. Despite her talent, success and loving family, the one thing Elfrieda yearns for is to die. And she wants Yoli to help her, although Yoli is desperate to keep her sister alive. The thing is, this novel is hilarious even as it shreds your heart. From the sisters to the mother to the aunts, this is one of the most lively and unique fictional families I’ve encountered. The language is extraordinary; you could study it for a long time before figuring out how Toews manages to be so funny and so searing at the same time.