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Mennonites Don't Dance

3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  89 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
*Shortlisted for the 2011 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book

*Shortlisted for the 2011 Danuta Gleed Literary Award

*Shortlisted for the 2012 Evergreen Award

This vibrant collection of short fictions explores how families work, how they are torn apart, and, in spite of differences and struggles, brought back together. Darcie Friesen Hossack's stories in Mennonites
Paperback, 201 pages
Published September 2010 by Thistledown Press
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Books by Mennonites
9th out of 14 books — 12 voters
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Evergreen 2013
7th out of 10 books — 2 voters

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Community Reviews

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Perhaps you can think of better ways of spending your free time than reading stories about Mennonites and their life on Canadian prairies, but all in all Mennonites Don't Dance doesn't do half bad.

These stories fit squarely into the lore of remote, small town, somewhere in flat and rural Canada (most take place in Saskatchewan, though there's one or two which move a bit further west and into Alberta). There is a sense of community in here, but one filled with the dark undercurrents of grief, su
Ruth Seeley
Aug 16, 2011 Ruth Seeley rated it liked it
This really deserves 3.5 stars - it's almost a 4. These stories are excellent - all interconnected in a way, some through characters, all through place and theme. They're beautifully edited and except for a few annoying typos (words repeated or not deleted in editing, not actual misspellings), they're gorgeous explorations of the difficulty we experience expressing and accepting love. When you finish a collection of short stories and immediately catch yourself thinking, 'what's she going to do d ...more
Nov 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
I feel like I just allowed myself to get puked on. Or I could say sh** on since that was one of the author's frequent words of choice.
Well written but a depressing and pessimistic portrayal of Mennonites. I must know a different kind of Mennonite than the author does or has imagined in these short stories. One thing I've always noticed is that most of them value their family quite highly and, even if they swear a blue streak, they don't use God's name carelessly and never curse him (out loud an
Aug 29, 2011 Helgaklassen rated it it was amazing
A rather somber book......but beautifully written.
Feb 14, 2011 Dnicebear rated it it was amazing
The stories are fiction but oh so believable, and how they bring out the emotions behind each action, and help put back together some of my rural relationships, meaning I have greater understanding and empathy of and with people. Each story, each sentence really, grips me and I enjoy the ease with which the author flashes backward and forward in time. Here's an example from Penelope who goes back to her mother's house in Swift Current (Canada) for the first time since inheriting her mother's hou ...more
I didn't like this book very much, I didn't hate it either, but it was a collection of short stories that I couldn't get into.

The writing was well done, the author does do a good job at telling a short story, and creating a complex plot, with some detailed issues, but the stories failed to reach me as the reader. The setting, experiences were far different than what I've experienced, it was the authors chance to show the reader the lives of the Mennonites, who they are etc., but I didn't get th
May 26, 2011 Alexis rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
I desperately wish that I hadn't had to read this book at the doctor's office. I was stuck at the doctor's for almost 2 hours and had been fasting since the night before. THis book was my solace, but I'm sure I missed some of the details in some of the stories due to my situation.

That said, there's a lot of good in this book. Wonderful description and some interesting characters. I found the stories to be very dark, and I liked how they revealed some of the darker sides of Mennonites. At first,
Purple Osprey
Mar 29, 2014 Purple Osprey rated it it was amazing
Surprisingly good book from the writer nobody's heard about.
Very vivid portrayal, I got the sense that some of it was autobiographical.
I admit, I had to look up Mennonites in Wikipedia, and I was expecting them to be something like the Amish. I don't know if they are or not, the book doesn't really go there.
Nov 12, 2010 cenobyte rated it it was ok
The writing in "Mennonites Don't Dance" is engaging, and the book is, by and large, difficult to put down. I suspect it will also be difficult to forget. These are both good qualities in a book. I would have liked a little variety in the tone of the stories, however. While I don't mind "difficult" subject material, and do not shy away from it, I would have liked to have seen a different, less bleak tone, in one or two stories.

Hossack's voice is strong, however, and should not...can not be ignor
Kat Hodgins
Jul 29, 2012 Kat Hodgins rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadiana
Short stories, the first offering from Darcie Friesen Hossack - and I will be eagerly awaiting her next book! While written by a Canadian Author, set mostly in the Canadian Prairies (Swift Current and Calgary dominate) and in the Mennonite culture, that is not what defines them. These stories tell of the universal experience of families, the realities of human interactions, and human emotions. Each one has a different flavour to it, and each one communicates all it needs to in the time it has.
3.5 stars

This is a book of short stories, all of which are set on the Canadian Prairies, mostly on farms run by Mennonite families.

I enjoyed this more than most short story collections. The first couple weren't as interesting to me, but they got better, I thought. I loved that one later story brought me up to date on the characters from one of the earlier stories. My dad's family is Mennonite, so of the Mennonite references, I mostly just caught the food, but that was kind of fun for me, too. I
Shonna Froebel
Dec 09, 2012 Shonna Froebel rated it really liked it
This collection of short stories has a base in the Mennonite community with all the main characters either living in a prairie Mennonite community, or coming from one. Some characters appear in more than one story, although in a subtle way.
Since I am half Mennonite myself, this book really appealed to me. I could relate to the culture and the values. Many of the themes here though go beyond any one culture and speak to family and how the attitudes and actions of our parents affect our lives into
Corinne Wasilewski
Jun 10, 2014 Corinne Wasilewski rated it liked it
A well-written, but, bleak short story collection that focuses on the politics of power and how it plays out in parent/child relationships.
Sep 19, 2014 Kirsten rated it really liked it
Lovely little stories. Twisted but reality...
Jan 21, 2016 Itisme rated it liked it
these stories pack a wallop
Jul 22, 2011 Teri rated it liked it
Bought this while traveling in Canada. It is a collection of short stories which generally deal with family relationships. In some cases, the Mennonite community is part of the story, in other stories it is in the background. Regardless, the stories are universal and glimpse of Mennonite culture is a bonus. As might be expected of a collection, the stories are uneven, with some being more memorable than others.
Lynn Mclaughlin
Feb 16, 2014 Lynn Mclaughlin rated it liked it
very well written but oh so sad.
Dec 19, 2011 Chantale rated it it was amazing
A very engaging collection of short stories and interesting characters. A quick read. I enjoyed how one of the characters came up briefly in another story, it was nice to know what happened to them! These were also my two favourite short stories.
May 22, 2013 Hannah rated it really liked it
Very well written, but also very sad. Don't read this if you're sensitive to animals being killed (after all, it's life on the farm).
Excited to see what this author writes next!
Wendy Lang
Jul 03, 2012 Wendy Lang rated it liked it
An interesting short story collection. Not a happy, uplifting read, but very well done and thought provoking. Reminded me of the writings of Alice Munro.
Nov 18, 2011 Sharon rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2011
Though this was couched in terms of a Mennonite community, this will resonate with anyone who has grown up in a small town.
Jul 14, 2013 Helena rated it really liked it
Wonderful stories, well-written. They had such a familiar feel to me.
Penny (Literary Hoarders)
4.5 really - my favourite collection of short stories so far.
Jul 04, 2012 Michele rated it really liked it
Very interesting (and kind of dark) short stories about family life.
Apr 18, 2011 Ann rated it really liked it
heartfelt tales of people like us, yet not like us, too
Ms Wendy
Mar 16, 2015 Ms Wendy rated it did not like it
Dark and dreary.
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