A witty and daring memoir in which a daughter tells the life story of an enigmatic teacher – but from his perspectivePaper was always important to Mel Toews and his family. A teacher in a Canadian Mennonite community for more than 40 years, he would help his students print a local news round-up of new kittens and broken arms. He gave gifts of notepads to his two daughters and he would jot down ideas on yellow recipe cards ready for the next morning. After his death, these cards were found scattered around his body, all empty. In this memoir, Miriam Toewes attempts to fill in those blanks, telling the story of her late father’s life and his struggle with manic depression from his perspective, inhabiting his mind as he negotiates his final stay in hospital. It’s a daring strategy, one that could easily slip into self-serving wish fulfilment or sticky sentimentality, but Toews’s attempt to give her often-silent father a voice never sounds like ventriloquism. Instead, she allows him to discuss both his illness and the events that coloured it – his sister’s death, his mother’s drinking, his bride’s veil catching fire – with a hearse-black wit and quiet wisdom. …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books