Irma Voth: A Novel

Irma Voth: A Novel

Miriam Toews

Language: English

Pages: 272

ISBN: 0062070185

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

"Thenicely drawn contrast between what Irma knows and suspects and what the readerunderstands about her world gives Irma Voth asuspenseful charge from the first pages.” —Jane Smiley, Globe and Mail (Toronto)

Ina rare coming-of-age novel that blends dark truths with upliftingtransformations, acclaimed author Miriam Toewsdelivers the story of a young Mennonite woman, vulnerable yet wise beyond heryears, who carries the burden of a terrible family secret with her during aremarkable journey of survival and redemption. Irma Voth,from the award-winning author of Swing Low and A Complicated Kindness,is a poignant and elegant exploration of one woman’s difficult odyssey todiscover her own potential—a path that leads her away from her close-knitcommunity and into the wide and unknown world beyond. 

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clinic we unloaded Elias from the truck and carried him in. He was still groaning but we had stopped worrying about him. Marijke had gone off to wander around in the cornfield next to the barn. We had to walk past three deformed dogs to get to the desk where the nurse was sitting. Is this a vet or a clinic? said Wilson. It’s everything, I said. The nurse was my quasi cousin. She had white-blond hair like Aggie’s. Our great-grandpa had had thirty-one kids with three different wives who kept dying

sense. How can you not know? said Aggie. Didn’t you love her? It’s not that, I said. Of course I loved her. Dad said you love your imagination more than real life, said Aggie. What? I said. That’s not true! I’m just saying that’s what he said, said Aggie. Maybe it’s true. So what? We should hurry, I said. Why should we hurry? said Aggie. Are you in love with Wilson? Just put all that stuff back in the box, I said. At dinner Diego delivered a motivational speech to the cast and crew. He

his wife became frustrated with their poverty and left him for another man and took their son with her. He never saw them again but his son sometimes visits him in dreams and sometimes Gustavo hears him whispering into his ear while he drives his taxicab around Acapulco. Just one little bird, said Gustavo. Ximena looked at him suspiciously. I picked her up off the front seat and we drove to the beach where the real people go. Aggie jumped around in the waves and I sat in the shade with Ximena

her eyes and muttered a word in Low German that meant something like emperor with no clothes. Where is it? said the taxi driver. The cheese? I said. It’s with somebody else. The cheesemonger, said Aggie. Right, I said. I asked Aggie in Low German if that was another ancient word she’d learned from her stone tablet textbooks and she smiled and said nothing. We’re meeting the cheesemonger in the Zócalo, I said. He’s next to the cobbler, said Aggie. Across from the haberdasher. Really? said

you’re alive or not, said my father. Clearly you’re alive. It’s what you believe. He pinched my arm. Do you feel that? I nodded. You need to stop playing games, Irma Voth, he said. Someday you’ll be a wife and mother, Irma, said my own mother. Will you come alive for that? I didn’t know what to tell her. How was I supposed to know? On the way home I put my head in her lap and she undid my braids and combed my hair with her fingers. I like to remember how that felt. She was so gentle. I still

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