The Flying Troutmans
By Miriam Toews
(Counterpoint, Paperback, 9781582435312, 256pp.)
Publication Date: September 2009
Meet the Troutmans. Hattie's boyfriend has just dumped her, her sister Min's back in the psych ward, and Min's kids, Logan and Thebes, are not talking and talking way too much, respectively.
Responding to a distress call from Thebes, Hattie returns from Paris to take care of her niece and nephew, only to realize that the responsibility is far greater than she'd expected. Basketball-mad Logan is infatuated with New York Times Magazine interviewer Deborah Solomon, while purple-haired Thebes's hip-hop vernacular grates on everybody's nerves. She decides to take the kids in the family van (think Little Miss Sunshine) to go find their father, last heard to be running an idiosyncratic art galley in South Dakota.
What ensues is a remarkable journey that takes them across the United States, where amidst the diverse personal chaos, they discover one another to be both far crazier and far more normal than any of them thought.
Travel can be stressful, with flight delays, waiting rooms, and hours in economy class. One of the best ways to survive this mayhem is with a good book. Author Susan Jane Gilman offers suggestions for six great books that won't embarrass you in airports. More at NPR.org
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This saga of bad luck and good company is a wry, scary, heartfelt ode to the traverses we have to make in life when we’re at the end of our rope and there’s no net below us.” Elle
"A lovably nutty cast." Publishers Weekly
Not since Stephen Leacock have our neighbors to the north given us a writer as witty and wise as Miriam Toews . . . She is out to entertain with words, and the tale of the flying Troutmans is her best entertainment yet.” Los Angeles Times
Toews excels here at comedic sophistication, all while masterfully embedding explorations of madness, truth, and the immense sorrow that comes from caring for someone who is derailed by mania’s devious tug.” Booklist
Miriam Toews saunters along the line between comedy and grief as if she might lose her balance at any moment. But she never does. The precarious tone of her novels about fractured families is the crafted effect of a nimble writer . . . Toews is a genius at recording the everyday weirdness of young people, their capricious vacillation between screw-you sarcasm and tender pleading for affirmation.” Washington Post
"Engaging, humorous, grim, and redemptive, this is essential reading." Library Journal