Fight Night by Miriam Toews [8/10]

Fight Night” is my belated introduction to the brilliance of Canadian nine-novel-strong author Miriam Toews, and what an intro it is. Told from the pen of eight-year-old Swiv, a girl of wide-ranging mind and little tolerance for cant, the novel is a breathless journey over days of decline of her ailing, magnificent Grandma and final days of pregnancy of Mom, herself a volatile package. Swiv is suspended from school and is a beguiling mix of utter cynic and devotee of her mother and grandmother. The days are a blur of regular activity, until Grandma spontaneously books a flight from Toronto to California, and Swiv accompanies her on a chaotic journey of last rites. And the end approaches … The author is an utterly immersive stylist, forcing this reader to fall quite in love with brave young Swiv, and toward the end, the tension is as fierce as with a thriller. Fight Night is a blast of high-octane literary fiction that brings the essence of life into our hearts.

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