All the Broken Things Paperback – Deckle Edge, Jan 14 2014
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FINALIST 2015 – Toronto Book Award
“All the Broken Things is a strange, beautiful novel about the fundamental human need to be seen and to be loved. Kuitenbrouwer’s Bear Boy, Bo, is an unforgettable creation—a true survivor who carries within him both the poison of war and its antidote. His creator is a fearless writer: she considers the full spectrum of human nature—from the monstrous to the wondrous—with a clear gaze and a capacious heart.”
—Alissa York, author of Effigy and Fauna
“All the Broken Things enchanted me, opened my eyes, broke my heart, made me wonder, left me changed. Kuitenbrouwer has told a remarkable story that explores the tenuous thresholds between illusion and reality, myth and history, monstrosity and beauty. This is a truly magical and important book.”
—Jessica Grant, author of Come, Thou Tortoise
“All the Broken Things is a dreamy, tender elegy to human failure and imperfection.”
—Miriam Toews, author of A Complicated Kindness and Irma Voth
About the Author
KATHRYN KUITENBROUWER is the author of the novels Perfecting and The Nettle Spinner, which was a finalist for the Amazon.ca First Novel Award, and the short-story collection Way Up, which won the Danuta Gleed Award and was a finalist for the ReLit Award. Kuitenbrouwer's short fiction has been published in Granta, The Walrus, Numéro Cinq, Joyland and Storyville. She is an award-winning instructor with the University of Toronto's School of Continuing Studies.
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Top Customer Reviews
But even if you don’t have a random pet bear story from your childhood I think you’ll love this book. It’s a heart warming story about a boy trying to survive despite the odds. I couldn’t help but fall in love with Bo. When he was younger he came over to Canada with his parents from Vietnam, unfortunately his father didn’t make the trip. Now in Canada he has to balance the regular pressures of being a kid with an alcoholic (and slightly agoraphobic) mother and his little sister, Orange, who was born with some pretty serious birth defects because of Agent Orange. His coping mechanism for all these? To get into almost daily fights with another boy from school.
Bo is a fighter both literally and figuratively. He does what he needs to in order to survive. When a local carnival man, Gerry, see’s him fight he asks Bo to come wrestle bears for him. Now I think most kids would run in the opposite direction from an offer like that, but Bo see’s it for the opportunity it is – not just to make money, but also to have a place where he belongs. His situation gets a lot worse before it gets better but he keeps fighting all the way through.Read more ›
In this case Kuitenbrower tells a deftly-crafted tale of a Vietnamese mother, son and daughter who are refugees just after the infamous civil war that ravaged their country. Not only are they victims of the war, but of that deadly and devastating chemical known as Agent Orange, large quantities of which were produced in Grimsby, Ontario, by Uniroyal.
The story centres around the boy, Bo, who attempts to find the strength and compassion to not only deal with his mother who is rapidly sinking into depression, extreme poverty and the effects of Agent Orange, but his sister who was born grotesquely deformed because of the chemical.
It is also a story about freaks and misfits who find a home in the carnivals and sideshows that toured southern Ontario, and were featured at the Canadian National Exhibition.
So it is a story about broken people, broken in body and spirit. It is a story about broken morality. Broken promises. Broken trust.
And it is utterly, completely mesmerizing in the simplicity and beauty of Kuitenbrower's phrasing and story-telling ability.
Most recent customer reviews
I finished the book, which is saying a lot. It was well written, but the three stars are because I felt that the author was trying to squeeze too much information into one story. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Shelley Kean
Moving and highly credible tale of the struggles of a Vietnamese immigrant boy and his family to settle in 1970s Toronto. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Dave Whitson
This is one of those books that is a little more difficult to read but then everything falls together and after you're finished you start thinking about the complexities of the... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Flyingp
Have you ever read a book that grabbed you by the heart and never let go? Such is the case with All the Broken Things, a novel written by Canadian author Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Jessica Voigts
The Zeitgeist is kind and deposits another delicious book, centring around sideshows and freaks, directly into my lap. From there it penetrates directly into my heart. Read morePublished on June 22 2014 by Drew Rowsome
This is not only the best book Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer has written, it is the best book anyone has written in quite some time. Read morePublished on June 1 2014 by Madame B