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Fiction Literary

Fight Night

by (author) Miriam Toews

Publisher
Knopf Canada
Initial publish date
Aug 2021
Category
Literary, Family Life, Black Humor
  • Hardback

    ISBN
    9780735282391
    Publish Date
    Aug 2021
    List Price
    $29.95

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Description

NATIONAL BESTSELLER
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2021 SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE
FINALIST FOR THE 2021 ATWOOD GIBSON WRITERS’ TRUST FICTION PRIZE
Named a Best Book of the Year by The Globe and Mail ● CBC ● USA Today ● NPR
A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice
An Amazon Editors’ Pick
An Indie Next Pick
An Apple Book of the Month
One of Indigo’s “Top 10 Best Canadian Fiction Books of 2021”
The beloved author of bestsellers Women Talking, All My Puny Sorrows, and A Complicated Kindness returns with a funny, smart, headlong rush of a novel full of wit, flawless writing, and a tribute to perseverance and love in an unusual family.
 
Fight Night is told in the unforgettable voice of Swiv, a nine-year-old living in Toronto with her pregnant mother, who is raising Swiv while caring for her own elderly, frail, yet extraordinarily lively mother. When Swiv is expelled from school, Grandma takes on the role of teacher and gives her the task of writing to Swiv's absent father about life in the household during the last trimester of the pregnancy. In turn, Swiv gives Grandma an assignment: to write a letter to "Gord," her unborn grandchild (and Swiv's soon-to-be brother or sister). "You’re a small thing," Grandma writes to Gord, "and you must learn to fight."

As Swiv records her thoughts and observations, Fight Night unspools the pain, love, laughter, and above all, will to live a good life across three generations of women in a close-knit family. But it is Swiv’s exasperating, wise and irrepressible Grandma who is at the heart of this novel: someone who knows intimately what it costs to survive in this world, yet has found a way—painfully, joyously, ferociously—to love and fight to the end, on her own terms.

About the author

Miriam Toews is the author of two previous award-winning novels, Summer of My Amazing Luck and A Boy of Good Breeding, as well as the memoir Swing Low: A Life. She contributes frequently to CBC Radio, National Public Radio, and the New York Times Magazine, and has received a gold medal in the National Magazine Awards for humour.

Miriam Toews' profile page

Awards

  • Short-listed, Scotiabank Giller Prize
  • Short-listed, Atwood Gibson Writers' Trust Fiction Prize

Editorial Reviews

NATIONAL BESTSELLER
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2021 SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE
FINALIST FOR THE 2021 ATWOOD GIBSON WRITERS' TRUST FICTION PRIZE

One of Indigo’s “Top 10 Best Canadian Fiction Books of 2021”
One of BuzzFeed’s “All The Books We Read And Loved Being Released This October”
One of CBC Books’ “34 Great Canadian Books to Check Out in Fall 2021”
One of CNN’s “22 of the Most Anticipated New Books to Read this October”
One of the Toronto Star’s “35 Books You Need to Know About in Fall 2021”

“Fresh and revelatory. . . . Miriam Toews is amaster storyteller.” —The Globe and Mail

“[A] joyful, powerful, philosophical book. . . . It’s a profound affirmation of storytelling as a life force. . . . While life can be and is hard . . . what becomes obvious in Fight Night is that love wins out over everything.” —Deborah Dundas, Toronto Star

“In Fight Night, as in her previous books, Miriam Toews is a genius. Her gigantic mind and heart are singular; her sentence-making powers extraordinary. Living in a time when Toews is writing is a reason to rejoice.” —R.O. Kwon

 “Fierce and funny . . . gives undeniable testimony to the life force of family. It’s a knockout.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“[A] charming, open-hearted book. . . . Funny and sad and exquisitely tender.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Move over, Scout Finch! There’s a new contender for feistiest girl in fiction, and her name is Swiv. She’s the nine-year-old narrator of Miriam Toews’ spectacular new novel, Fight Night and you’re not likely to forget her distinctive voice—wise, worried, precocious, profane—anytime soon. . . . Toews has written a big-hearted, briskly paced family saga about the extraordinary love that binds three generations of free-spirited women together, and the tools and techniques that they’ve had to develop to survive.” —USA Today

“Toews is a master of voice, and Swiv's . . . is one that I could read forever. . . . [A]s Elvira says, ‘To be alive means full body contact with the absurd. Still, we can be happy.’ This is an apt mission statement for Toews's body of work. Fight Night makes an ardent, hilarious, and moving addition.” —Kristen Martin, NPR
 
“Toews is a master of dialogue, and she swirls the adults’ perspectives through Swiv’s imperfect ventriloquism as if she were mixing paints.” —The New York Times

“Miriam Toews mines the same material over and over again in her novels. Thank goodness. Because those novels . . . all include her Canadian Mennonite background, her family’s struggles with mental illness, and her humor in the face of life’s slings and arrows. It’s material worthy of a life’s work, and not one of Toews’s books . . . is like another, neither in tone nor in structure nor in plot. . . . Miriam Toews will make you cheer and sob for all concerned in her richly imagined Fight Night.” —The Boston Globe

“[Toews] can overlay the past on the present, make you laugh and cry, drop you off miles from where you started. . . . [A] quiet, unmistakeable intelligence. . . comes out in [her] humor.” —Ian Williams, Literary Hub
“Miriam Toews’ Fight Night is a wonder, a warmhearted and inventive portrait of women who never back down.” —BookPage

“Spectacular. . . . Toews haswritten a big-hearted, brisklypaced family saga about theextraordinary love that bindsthree generations of free-spiritedwomen together.” —USA Today

“A revelation.” —Richard Russo

“[Fight Night] is a touching tribute to the matrilineal bond among three women of different generations. . . . Toews’ greatest talent lies in creating messy and lovable characters—the kind of people you’d want on your team (or coaching your team) if you were in a fight. Not because they are the strongest, but because somewhere inside themselves they’ve found the energy to keep moving forward.” —Los Angeles Times

Fight Night is nearly all tenderness. . . . [T]here’s great pathos in watching a writer as gifted as Toews turn the same losses over and over as if looking for some way to redeem them on the page, knowing all the while that there isn’t. She admits as much in an observation lent to Swiv, who bristles against attempts by authority figures to domesticate her language: ‘It doesn’t matter what words you use in life, it’s not gonna prevent you from suffering.’” —Bookforum

“As a narrator, Swiv is charming and hilarious, her grandmother even more so. I laughed and cried reading this book; I can’t think of a higher endorsement.” —Tomi Obaro, BuzzFeed

Fight Night is nearly all tenderness. . . . [T]here’s great pathos in watching a writer as gifted as Toews turn the same losses over and over as if looking for some way to redeem them on the page, knowing all the while that there isn’t. She admits as much in an observation lent to Swiv, who bristles against attempts by authority figures to domesticate her language: ‘It doesn’t matter what words you use in life, it’s not gonna prevent you from suffering.’” —Bookforum

“Fight Night is a headlong rush of a novel narrated by a precocious nine-year-old girl who is doing everything she can to keep her troubled mother from falling apart and her irrepressible grandmother alive. Tender, heart-wrenching, darkly funny, and ultimately joyful, this novel pulses with life.” —Christina Baker Kline, New York Times bestselling author of The Exiles and Orphan Train

"Miriam Toews' compellingly crafted Fight Night is a testament to her astounding grasp of narrative voice. The emotional range exemplified on every page solidifies Toews as one of our most endearing, compassionate and prolific storytellers. Her young protagonist, nine-year-old Swiv, is expertly rendered with exacting grit and enviable humour. To read this examination of girlhood, family and mental wellness, is to become wholly enamoured with a cast of characters consistently demonstrating the power of exuberance and resiliency of love." —2021 Scotiabank Giller Prize Jury (Zalika Reid-Benta, Megan Gail Coles, Joshua Whitehead, Tash Aw and Joshua Ferris)

"Miriam Toews does not disappoint with her latest outing. Fight Night is a novel well-conceived and executed with prose that is powerful and subtle in equal measure—the weight of a lightly crafted sentence will, after a second’s suspension, come back with a punch. We’re given a unique and quirky take on the world through the eyes of precocious nine-year-old Swiv. Swiv's observations, sometime hilarious, sometimes poignant, illustrate the lives of her mother and grandmother with a careful balance of wit, irony, dark humour, and philosophical musings. Fight Night is a thoughtful and thoroughly enjoyable read about women and girls navigating the world together." —2021 Atwood Gibson Writers' Trust Fiction Prize Jury (Rebecca Fisseha, Michelle Good, and Steven Price)

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