May 082012

Irma Voth by Miriam Toews
Source: Local library
Links: Goodreads, Author on Twitter

Nineteen-year-old Irma lives in a rural Mennonite community in Mexico. She has already been cast out of her family for marrying a young Mexican ne’er-do-well she barely knows, although she remains close to her rebellious younger sister and yearns for the lost intimacy with her mother. With a husband who proves elusive and often absent, a punishing father, and a faith in God damaged beyond repair, Irma appears trapped in an untenable and desperate situation. When a celebrated Mexican filmmaker and his crew arrive from Mexico City to make a movie about the insular community in which she was raised, Irma is immediately drawn to the outsiders and is soon hired as a translator on the set. But her father, intractable and domineering, is determined to destroy the film and get rid of the interlopers. His action sets Irma on an irrevocable path toward something that feels like freedom. 

I had a hard time liking this book. I started out with the audiobook. The narration was smooth and the accents were spot on. But the constant “he said” phrases repeating over and over broke up the dialogue and halted the story every few lines. The overabundance of the phrase became very annoying.

The story moves slowly. Not much happens until late in the book, and even then, it seems tempered into slowness. It made for a rather boring listen and read because I did switch to a physical copy part way through. It was just too slow to listen to.

There is definitely a serious, literary feel to the story. I liked the introduction I got to Menonnite life, but overall, the story was not that interesting.

Challenges read for:

2012 Audio Book Challenge

The Canadian Book Challenge 5

  2 Responses to “Irma Voth”

  1. Have to say Miriam Toews is not my favorite author. Your review was good and I still won't be reading more of her books.

  2. I really liked a Complicated Kindness by this author so I'm still pretty intrigued by this book. I know what you mean with the “he said” phrases. I often worry I'm doing that too often in my own writing.

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