3. The Flying Troutmans

The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 274
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jan. 7, 2010
First Published: Oct. 1 2008
Genre: literary fiction, realistic fiction
Rating: 4.5/5

First sentence:

Yeah, so things have fallen apart.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Random House Canada.

Reason for Reading: The publisher's plot synopsis grabbed me right away.

Summary: Hattie in Paris, who has just been dumped by her boyfriend, receives an urgent message from her niece in Manitoba to come home quickly. Hattie's sister Min is in a deep depression and needs to go into the hospital again and when Hattie arrives she finds the kids in a state. Teenage Logan retreats into his hoodie all the time, rarely speaks and the neighbors have a backyard full of hatchets. Thebes, on the other hand, does not stop talking, ever, and looks as if she hasn't changed clothes in a few weeks nor combed, let alone washed her hair in months. Hattie is totally not up to the job of looking after two children so she takes the children in the van on a road trip to the States to find their father whom Min chased out of their lives when Logan was a toddler and Thebes newly born. With only the name of a place of where he was ten years ago they set off.

Comments: What a wonderful, brilliant book! A humourous, heart-felt, sometimes poignant story of a family of the most quirky characters. This family is dysfunctional as a unit and each member is suffering their own mental health problems but they are also lovable, unique and become accepted to the reader just the way they are. The only character I didn't connect with nor grow to like was Hattie, who was quite negligent with looking after the children and as a 32yo woman had no excuse for her behaviour except that she daydreamed about her ex-boyfriend back in Paris and hadn't looked after children before. I didn't buy it. However, the children and Min (who we get to know through Hattie's memories) were extremely outlandish yet totally believable characters.

A great story that will have you chuckling, shaking your head and growing fonder of these two children the more you read. I really enjoyed this, my first foray into Toews, and I will be looking into her other work hoping to find the same quality of story. The book vaguely reminded me of the movie "Little Miss Sunshine" and I pictured Logan just as the teenage son in that movie. If you enjoy an offbeat story populated with eccentric characters this book will certainly fit the bill.


  1. Glad to hear you liked this one so much, Nicola! Sounds like it's even better than A Complicated Kindness. I also won a copy of TFT from Random House through The Book Mine Set and am looking forward to the read!

  2. I have this one in my TBR pile and can't wait to read it. I've heard such great things!!

  3. I read this when it came out and really enjoyed it.

  4. This sounds pretty interesting! On it goes to the TBR list.

  5. This is on my TBR. I really liked A Complicated Kindness.

  6. Sounds like I should read A Complicated Kindness next!

  7. I loved Flying Troutmans as well as A Complicated Kindness -- but you will probably need to have a box of Kleenex handy! She has another one about a man who wants the Prime Minister to visit his town...It is a funny and lighter read than A Complicated Kindness...I can't remember the name though so you will have to google Toews.

  8. Will be adding this to my TBR list.


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