All My Puny Sorrows, by Miriam Toews

All My Puny Sorrows, by Miriam Toews

All My Puny SorrowsAll My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I found All My Puny Sorrows a difficult one to rate. On Amazon, I’ve gone for 4 stars, to give credit to the exquisite writing. I can’t remember the last time I read a book where every page was a masterpiece. On the other hand, I found the pace a bit…glacial in its slowness.

Don’t let that put you off giving All My Puny Sorrows a try. Most reviews are glowing, which is why I feel OK about going for a 3 star rating here. It would have been a three and a half, if I’d had the option.

View all my reviews


  1. I enjoyed this, but I can very much understand where you’re coming from when you say the pace is particularly slow. It’s a necessity, I think, but it still has an impact on the book as an experience.

    My review: All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews

    • Sarah
      31 Mar 2015

      I’ve felt a similar response to a couple of books lately, and I’m coming to the conclusion that it’s because my own writing has become more plot-driven through the editing process of the last year or so. If you’d asked me five years ago, I’d have identified as a character-driven author on the literary end of the scale. Turns out my debut is more book club suspense. I’m enjoying that a lot, mind you, but means that my ‘pace’ antennae are active as I read and review.

      • You might well be on to something there – when I wrote my own debut novel (completely character-driven) it really made me think about the sort of books I enjoyed and I realised that most of them were first-person narratives and very much about the interior life of the narrator. Funny the things writing teaches you about your reading life!

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