Irma Voth by Miriam Toews

Irma Voth

Miriam Toews

Three stroppy Mennonite sisters on the run, looking for freedom from their violent father, submissive mother and the oppression of their misogynistic upbringing. An unusual culture-clash novel with an engaging narrator.

Extract

Here, feed her, I said to Aggie. I had finished making the bottle. I wanted to observe these people and make notes in my notebook.
No, you do it, said Aggie. I don’t want her to throw up on me.
Use my old dress as a shield, I said.
No! I’m not gonna sit here draped in that ugly thing, she said. I’m going to look at stuff.
She started to walk away and I told her not to wander too far and to come back in twenty minutes. She waggled her ass at me. She didn’t look back. She looked like a normal girl in those jeans and sweatshirt. I watched her walk in the direction of the National Palace, the place the seven Mennonite men came to a long time ago with grim hopes of making a land deal. I imagined her going in and saying hey! El Presidente! Time for a new deal! I fed Ximena. We looked deeply into each other’s eyes while she drank. I liked the heavy, warm weight of her in my arms.

Parallels
  • Mr Wroe's Virgins by Jane Rogers
  • Living with the Amish - TV series