Next book title: A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews
Doomed to work at the Happy Family Farm, a chicken slaughterhouse in a town run by religious fundamentalists, sixteen-year-old Nomi Nickel manages to bear witness to the dissolution of her family with a dark, sly wit. She lives alone with her doleful father, who is a dutiful member of the town church. Nomi, on the other hand, is inquisitive by nature and her compulsive questioning brings her into conflict with the town’s various authorities, most notably Hans Rosenfeldt, the sanctimonious church pastor. As the contemporary story unfolds, a series of flashbacks reveal that Nomi’s irreverent older sister Tash, left town three years earlier with her boyfriend, Ian, and that Nomi’s mother, Trudie, also left, though under more mysterious circumstances. As this novel won the Governor General’s Award in 2004 and the Canada Reads competition in 2006, there is a lot to dissect in the story. Melissa is hoping the discussion will be just as engaging as last month’s gathering.