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The Flying Troutmans Paperback – Deckle Edge, Jun 2 2009

3.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Canada (June 2 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307397505
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307397508
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 1.9 x 20.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #105,659 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

A road novel helped along by a lovably nutty cast, Toews's latest (after A Complicated Kindness) follows a ragtag crew as they crisscross America. Hattie, recently dumped in Paris by her moody, adjective-hating boyfriend, returns home to Canada after receiving an emergency phone call from her niece. Turns out, Hattie's sister, Min, is back in the psych ward, and her kids, 11-year-old Thebes and 15-year-old Logan, are fending for themselves. Thus the quirky trio—purple-haired, wise-beyond-her-years Thebes, recently expelled brother Logan and overwhelmed Hattie—embark on a road trip to the States to find the kids' long-missing father. What follows is a Little Miss Sunshine–like quest in which the characters learn about themselves and each other as they weather car repairs, sleazy motel rooms and encounters with bizarre people. Toews's gift for writing precocious children and the story's antic momentum redeem the familiar set-up, and if the ending feels a bit rushed, it's largely because it's tough to let Toews's characters go. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


“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

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this novel with its quirky sense of humour and unique characters and don't think I've read anything quite like it. The story was simple and often sad, yet the characters were rich with history and flaws which kept this story alive and the children leapt off the page as if they were real.

It was a satisfying tale of the bond of family ties and it was the relationship between an aunt and her niece and nephew that kept me fascinated. My niece turned eight months old while I was reading this tale and I could relate to Hattie's return to help her sister and her kids as I'm pretty sure there is nothing I wouldn't do for my little niece or my brother and fabulous sister in law.

My Review Partner's point about an epilogue is interesting. On the one hand, I would have liked to know what happened sometime down the road in their lives, but on the other hand, I like to have my own ideas of what their future held. I guess it depends on your preference, whether you will be satisfied with the ending, but it definitely doesn't all wrap up quite so neatly which is par for the entire novel.

Overall, if you want a quirky, Canadian read, this one fits the bill!
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By Nicola Mansfield HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Jan. 8 2010
Format: Paperback
Reason for Reading: The publisher's plot synopsis grabbed me right away.

Summary: Hattie in Paris, who has just been dumped by her boyfriend, receives an urgent message from her niece in Manitoba to come home quickly. Hattie's sister Min is in a deep depression and needs to go into the hospital again and when Hattie arrives she finds the kids in a state. Teenage Logan retreats into his hoodie all the time, rarely speaks and the neighbors have a backyard full of hatchets. Thebes, on the other hand, does not stop talking, ever, and looks as if she hasn't changed clothes in a few weeks nor combed, let alone washed her hair in months. Hattie is totally not up to the job of looking after two children so she takes the children in the van on a road trip to the States to find their father whom Min chased out of their lives when they Logan was a toddler and Thebes newly born. With only the name of a place of where he was ten years ago they set off.

Comments: What a wonderful, brilliant book! A humourous, heart-felt, sometimes poignant story of a family of the most quirky characters. This family is both dysfunctional and each member is suffering their own mental health problems but they are also lovable, unique and become accepted to the reader just the way they are. The only character I didn't connect with nor grow to like was Hattie, who was quite negligent with looking after the children and as a 32yo woman had no excuse for her behaviour except that she daydreamed about her ex-boyfriend back in Paris and hadn't looked after children before. I didn't buy it. However, the children and Min (who we get to know through Hattie's memories) were extremely outlandish yet totally believable characters.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is, in its own way, a stellar accomplishment. At the same time, not everyone will like it, not everyone will 'get' it. But man...what a ride.

It's economical. Spare. And maybe, just maybe, because of the core subject -depression- this was the perfect tack to take, rather than getting bogged down in narrative that provides more in its depth, but that depth ends up detracting from the power of this core.

Normally, I don't touch on 'what the story's about' in my reviews. Here, I'm going to make an exception. To a small extent. 'Troutmans' is a road trip. A road trip as told by a fractured, vulnerable, flawed narrator...whose own profile does not impact negatively on the story...something I consistently harp on about these days. Along with Hattie, there's Thebes, her 11 year old niece, and Logan, her 15 year old nephew. Both are, to most observers, intellectually heightened to the extreme...and maybe this is part of what would put off some readers. (I'll get to the major element of this effect in a moment.)

These two kids are so fantastically presented- Look; I'm a writer, I pride myself on being great with dialogue...but what Ms Toews comes up with repeatedly, what she lavishes on us by way of these two characters is... Well, at times, not only was I laughing, but I was almost applauding. The voices -for those who can hear them- are authentic to the point of being painfully so. In fact, my basic litmus test for any novel (and I'll confess here that I know this reveals a major prejudice of mine, so go ahead; sue me. But then, I am also a screenwriter...) is whether I'm compelled to see the tale in my head, as a film. Better yet, would I *want* to see it as a film, on the screen. In this case, absolutely, positively, beyond any shadow of a doubt.
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Format: Paperback
After reading quite a few intense, sad novels, I decided to try something a bit lighter and an easier read. Having read "A Complicated Kindness" a few years back I remember really liking Toews style of writing so I gave this one a shot (I bought it used from a library for 2$!). I flew through this book. It was so relatable and the words just ran together so nicely it was hard to put down. The plot had a steady growth and the character development was phenomenal, especially with Logan. I loved all the flashback stories Hattie would talk about, really showed the essence of a dysfunctional but loving sister relationship. Thebes was definitely my favourite and I think a lot of young girls could relate to her quirkiness and eccentric self. The cover makes it look like a children's book but I think anyone preteen and up could enjoy it. The only thing I didn't like was how it ended, I felt like it left me wanting more!
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