All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews

All My Puny Sorrows

By Miriam Toews

  • Release Date: 2014-04-11
  • Genre: Literary
Score: 4.5
From 143 Ratings
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SHORTLISTED 2014 – Scotiabank Giller Prize

Miriam Toews is beloved for her irresistible voice, for mingling laughter and heartwrenching poignancy like no other writer. In her most passionate novel yet, she brings us the riveting story of two sisters, and a love that illuminates life.

You won’t forget Elf and Yoli, two smart and loving sisters. Elfrieda, a world-renowned pianist, glamorous, wealthy, happily married: she wants to die. Yolandi, divorced, broke, sleeping with the wrong men as she tries to find true love: she desperately wants to keep her older sister alive. Yoli is a beguiling mess, wickedly funny even as she stumbles through life struggling to keep her teenage kids and mother happy, her exes from hating her, her sister from killing herself and her own heart from breaking.
But Elf’s latest suicide attempt is a shock: she is three weeks away from the opening of her highly anticipated international tour. Her long-time agent has been calling and neither Yoli nor Elf’s loving husband knows what to tell him. Can she be nursed back to “health” in time? Does it matter? As the situation becomes ever more complicated, Yoli faces the most terrifying decision of her life.
All My Puny Sorrows, at once tender and unquiet, offers a profound reflection on the limits of love, and the sometimes unimaginable challenges we experience when childhood becomes a new country of adult commitments and responsibilities. In her beautifully rendered new novel, Miriam Toews gives us a startling demonstration of how to carry on with hope and love and the business of living even when grief loads the heart.

From the Hardcover edition.


  • Everyone & their puny sorrows

    By LALegault
    This is not the most well written of books but it is honest, and has a genuineness to it that could only come from a blend of fiction & non fiction. It captures the mundane and sorrowful well, where it lacks- is where we look for more poetry in what we already know. The bits of black humour made me laugh out loud. Where it may be hard for some is the realness in which it portrays the suffering of those around a suicidal person. It's an easy-read but not a light one.