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Miriam Toews's Novel Spurs Conversations About Assisted Suicide

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McSweeney's
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Canadian novelist Miriam Toews has covered the subject of suicide in her work before.

Her second book, Swing Low: A Life, was a memoir written in her father’s voice, after he committed suicide in 1998. Tragically, a decade later, her sister also killed herself after battling depression for years and trying unsuccessfully to kill herself several times.
 

Toews’s new novel, All My Puny Sorrows, is closely inspired by those events. Despite the difficult subject matter, the book manages to be darkly and ridiculously funny in places.

After winning the Rogers Writing Trust Fiction Prize last week, it was runner-up for the Giller Prize – Canada’s top literary award – Monday night. Toews read from her book at Boswell Book Company in Milwaukee Tuesday night, but ahead of that, she joined Lake Effect's Mitch Teich via Skype from her home in Toronto.

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