REVIEW: Fight Night by Miriam Toews

love Miriam Toews’ characters. The point-of-view of 9-year-old Swiv who lives with her pregnant mother and hypertensive grandmother is funny and endearing. The novel is a letter to her father who disappeared. I really loved the way “big words” that Swiv learns from overhearing the adults are in italics - she talks like an adult, but she doesn’t understand everything she is saying.

Swiv worries that her mother will kill herself like her grandfather and aunt did. She worries for her unborn sibling, “Gord”. She worries that her Grandma will die. She looks after Grandma by cutting up paperbacks into a manageable size and picking up the pills she drops and putting on her compression socks for her. Swiv has a lot of responsibility for a child.

The same themes recur as in other Toews novels – religion, suicide, mental illness, family. Fighting in this book means fighting to live. For some people it is harder to be alive, and they have to fight. The author’s  assorted peculiar characters, in all of her books, are always fighting. I can’t get enough of them. Did I mention that I love her characters so much?

Fight Night
Miriam Toews
336 pages
Published Knopf Canada
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance digital copy of this novel. 


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