I was never really sold on A Complicated Kindness, Toews' breakout GG winner. The premise was good but the story never grabbed me.
When I first heard about The Flying Troutmans, I had a feeling that this one would be different and it was. A road story of the highest order, this book is a real charmer. The only reason why I'm glad to be done this book is that I was getting tired of missing my bus and subway stops on the way to and from work.
The story deals with the 15 year old son and 11 year old daughter of a woman who has been hospitalized because of mental illness. Their 28 year old aunt returns home from Paris and a failed relationship to take care of them. Soon enough, they are on a transcontinental road trip in search of the father that was forced out years ago by the mother.
It sounds like a road movie in the Little Miss Sunshine vein and it plays out that way. Thankfully, Toews is such a good writer that the story doesn't slide into cliche and pat solutions. Instead, she hits all the right notes so well that you can't help but falling under the spell of this bittersweet tale. The ending will not come as a shock but that's beside the point. A good road trip is all about the journey, not the destination and this book is no different.
I read the last 20 pages or so in a rush last Friday because I didn't want to take a book up north with me that I would be finished with so soon. After I finished it, though, I still wound up carting it up north because I realized a book like this demands to be shared amongst friends and families. So I took the book up north and now it's my sister's turn to take the trip.