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Mennonites Don't Dance

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  105 ratings  ·  31 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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Average rating 3.73  · 
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 ·  105 ratings  ·  31 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
May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful collection of short stories.
Marian Beaman
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The winds of the Saskatchewan prairie blow through Darcie Friesen Hossack’s collection of eleven short stories, giving it a strong sense of place. Mennonites Don’t Dance is not memoir, though her acknowledgements suggest the young writer’s origins. And though Mennonite culture may inform the author’s themes, it does not define all of her complex and flawed characters, often molded by the push and pull of rural and urban ideals, untreated trauma, loneliness, desire for revenge, and forgiveness.

Ruth Seeley
Aug 16, 2011 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
Aug 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A rather somber book......but beautifully written.
Gail Amendt
Jan 27, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a collection of dark stories about dysfunctional families with inter-generational struggles who just happen to be Mennonite. I wouldn't say most of them are specifically about being Mennonite, as many of the situations could happen to anyone in a small community. As I often find with short stories, I wished many of the stories were longer, as we just start to get to know the characters and the story is over. The author does know how to create complex and flawed characters, and I would li ...more
Linda Hoye
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely beautiful collection of short stories. Both the way the words flow, and the unexpected twists in stories themselves are stunning. I got this book from the local library but am ordering a copy for myself. It will be a volume I return to again and again. Highly recommend.
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful book. I grew up in a religious farming community, the stories in this book really resonated with me.
Feb 14, 2011 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
Nov 12, 2010 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
May 25, 2011 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,
Kat Hodgins
Jul 28, 2012 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.
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
Shonna Froebel
Dec 09, 2012 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
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
Jul 22, 2011 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.
Purple Osprey
Mar 29, 2014 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.
Dec 09, 2011 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.
Sep 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Lovely little stories. Twisted but reality...
Corinne Wasilewski
Jun 08, 2014 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.
Jul 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Wonderful stories, well-written. They had such a familiar feel to me.
Ms Wendy
Aug 28, 2014 rated it did not like it
Dark and dreary.
Jan 21, 2016 rated it liked it
these stories pack a wallop
Wendy Lang
Jul 03, 2012 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.
May 14, 2013 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!
Sep 08, 2011 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.
Lynn Mclaughlin
Jan 25, 2014 rated it liked it
very well written but oh so sad.
Jul 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Very interesting (and kind of dark) short stories about family life.
Lisa McGonigle
rated it it was amazing
Sep 05, 2012
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