Diane's Reviews > Irma Voth

Irma Voth by Miriam Toews
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Nov 15, 11

Read in November, 2011

Miriam Toews' (pronounced "Taves", please) earlier books had a charming quirky humor to lighten the story but not this one. I think she intended the younger adolescent sister Aggie to provide some comic relief but she only screws things up. If you thought Toews portrayed a dour Mennonite existence before you ain't seen nothin' yet. Irma Voth is a nineteen year-old Mennonite girl transplanted from rural Manitoba to rural northern Mexico. Apparently, some ultra-conservative Mennonites started relocating to Mexico with the blessing of the Mexican government in the 1920s when they thought the Canadian government was becoming too intrusive in their isolated way of life. Irma's family moved to Mexico much more recently. There are approximately 80,000 Mennonites living in Mexico today. When Irma is abandoned by her Mexican husband he finds work as a translator with a movie crew filming in the area. [This appears to be based on the production of a real movie, "Stellet Lijcht" released in 2007.] The book's ending is very confusing and I'm still not really sure what happened but maybe Toews intended that. A dark story with only a few rays of light.
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