The Flying Troutmans

The Flying Troutmans

by Miriam Toews
3.8 6


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The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews

"Min was stranded in her bed, hooked on the blue torpedoes and convinced that a million silver cars were closing in on her (I didn't know what Thebes meant either), Logan was in trouble at school, something about the disturbing stories he was writing, Thebes was pretending to be Min on the phone with his principal, the house was crumbling around them, the black screen door had blown off in the wind, a family of aggressive mice was living behind the piano, the neighbours were pissed off because of hatchets being thrown into their yard at night (again, confusing, something to do with Logan) … basically, things were out of control. And Thebes is only eleven."
–from The Flying Troutmans

Days after being dumped by her boyfriend Marc in Paris – "he was heading off to an ashram and said we could communicate telepathically" – Hattie hears her sister Min has been checked into a psychiatric hospital, and finds herself flying back to Winnipeg to take care of Thebes and Logan, her niece and nephew. Not knowing what else to do, she loads the kids, a cooler, and a pile of CDs into their van and they set out on a road trip in search of the children's long-lost father, Cherkis.

In part because no one has any good idea where Cherkis is, the traveling matters more than the destination. On their wayward, eventful journey down to North Dakota and beyond, the Troutmans stay at scary motels, meet helpful hippies, and try to ignore the threatening noises coming from under the hood of their van. Eleven-year-old Thebes spends her time making huge novelty cheques with arts and crafts supplies in the back, and won't wash, no matter how wild and matted her purple hair gets; she forgot to pack any clothes. Four years older, Logan carves phrases like "Fear Yourself" into the dashboard, and repeatedly disappears in the middle of the night to play basketball; he's in love, he says, with New York Times columnist Deborah Solomon. Meanwhile, Min can't be reached at the hospital, and, more than once, Hattie calls Marc in tears.

But though it might seem like an escape from crisis into chaos, this journey is also desperately necessary, a chance for an accidental family to accept, understand or at least find their way through overwhelming times. From interwoven memories and scenes from the past, we learn much more about them: how Min got so sick, why Cherkis left home, why Hattie went to Paris, and what made Thebes and Logan who they are today.

In this completely captivating book, Miriam Toews has created some of the most engaging characters in Canadian literature: Hattie, Logan and Thebes are bewildered, hopeful, angry, and most of all, absolutely alive. Full of richly skewed, richly funny detail, The Flying Troutmans is a uniquely affecting novel.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307397492
Publisher: Knopf Canada
Publication date: 09/02/2008
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Miriam Toews is the author of three previous novels: Summer of My Amazing Luck; A Boy of Good Breeding and A Complicated Kindness (winner of the 2004 Governor’s General Award for fiction) and one work of non-fiction: Swing Low: A Life. She lives in Winnipeg.

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The Flying Troutmans 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
donnareads911 More than 1 year ago
What a family disaster! From a certifiable mom, kids left to their own devices and once the mom decides to allow herself to try to die via starvation, her sister zooms in to save the kids, but really? Taking them out of their native country? Letting an unlicensed 15 year old drive? No rules? Even to personal cleanliness? And that's just the surface! Remarkable? Yes, but mostly so for no one being arrested for child abandonment or neglect!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
eheinlen More than 1 year ago
I honestly don't know what to say about this book. It was...odd to say the least. It doesn't read like any other book that I've ever read and I'm still not sure whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. The characters and situations were very realistic, but it's the writing style I'm just not sure of. It was almost like the story was being recounted instead of told. Nothing seemed to be direct quotes or statements. It all appeared to be retold after the fact. I don't know. It was just odd.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Strange book