• All My Puny Sorrows

  • By: Miriam Toews
  • Narrated by: Erin Moon
  • Length: 11 hrs and 55 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (377 ratings)

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All My Puny Sorrows  By  cover art

All My Puny Sorrows

By: Miriam Toews
Narrated by: Erin Moon
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Publisher's Summary

Elf and Yoli are sisters. While on the surface Elfrieda's life is enviable (she's a world-renowned pianist, glamorous, wealthy, and happily married,) and Yolandi's a mess (she's divorced and broke, with two teenagers growing up too quickly), they are fiercely close - raised in a Mennonite household and sharing the hardship of Elf's desire to end her life. After Elf's latest attempt, Yoli must quickly determine how to keep her family from falling apart, how to keep her own heart from breaking, and what it means to love someone who wants to die.

©2014 Miriam Toews (P)2014 Recorded Books

What listeners say about All My Puny Sorrows

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant and beautiful

This is one of the best books I have ever read/listened to. Magnificent writing. Wonderful reading.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Exquisite book

Would you consider the audio edition of All My Puny Sorrows to be better than the print version?

Typically I prefer the one I engage with first. It's sometimes shocking to hear how a narrator handles a book I've read. I hadn't imagined it his or her way. In this case, the narrator enhanced what was already a great book.

Who was your favorite character and why?

My favorite character was the mother but her sister and both of her daughters were also beautifully drawn.

What about Erin Moon’s performance did you like?

Everything. Even the hospital staff was well and sometimes sympathetically voiced.

Who was the most memorable character of All My Puny Sorrows and why?

I can't think of anyone who isn't memorable.

Any additional comments?

Unless solicited for advice, I usually don't recommend books. But I sent a few emails after finishing this one.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Really depressing story

Don't listen to this if you are prone to depression. It's super dark.

However, it is masterfully written and very well performed.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Would you assist your siblings suicide?

A sad, serious, humourous family's struggle with life, depression and suicide. thank you 4.5 stars

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Sad Story, Unforgettable Writing Voice

If you could sum up All My Puny Sorrows in three words, what would they be?

A story you'll need to take a breather from every once and awhile as it confronts death and loss head on, but the writing voice will bring you back.

What did you like best about this story?

Miriam Toews is funny and honest about what it's like to be a woman, and she brings a sense of dry whimsy to her memories of her oppressive Mennonite upbringing.

Any additional comments?

I love how Audible tries to use readers from the same area the writer is from. Erin Moon's voice acting was great. I would listen to another book featuring her as the reader.

2 people found this helpful

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  • TM
  • 06-15-17

A complete downer

This book is so much of a downer! It's hard to remember anything bright or happy! Not the best story.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Not my usual cup of tea.

But I really liked it. I think the performance didn't quite hit the level of sarcasm present in the narrator's hyperbole, but that's maybe a subjective nitpick. The ending felt drawn out and it was a chore to finish. Totally worth it though. I'm a male with no siblings and this story punched me in the heart. The narration was incredibly sincere. Pretty great through and through.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Didn't live up to the hype

The book raised some thought provoking questions about death, suicide, and depression. However, overall, I felt it dragged, and I can't say that I I enjoyed the book. I didn't love the performance by the narrator - perhaps this was the intention of the author for her to speak slowly but it felt overdone to me. Too slow, too many pauses, too perfect articulation.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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It will seep into your soul, beautifully

This is a beautiful, open hearted, sometimes painful, sometimes charming and funny book. It’s at once wrenching and affirming. Great narration! It was my first Miriam Toews book; I now plan to read them all.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

The story is depressing.

The characters are not that interesting. And the story is depressing. I’ve never read a depressing book some have sad stories but this is a downer.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Snorkmaiden
  • 07-01-15

Beautiful writing

A poignant, yet often witty story, with fine attention to detail. A gentle and absorbing listen.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • AJ Brown
  • 03-14-17

Pragmatic insight into mental illness

Love Miriam Toews' writing - honest, amusing, realistic. Despite the subject matter, amusing and uplifting, as well as being desperately sad, poignant and thought-provoking.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jane
  • 06-10-19

A skillful mixture of humour, wise and witty observations woven into a thread of inextricable sadness.

I am very pleased that I also have a hard copy of this beautifully written heart rending book, because unfortunately the narrator’s rather monotonous tone and neutral pace do not lift the words off the page, nor do they do justice to Miriam Toews very sensitive and partly autobiographical novel. This narration will not put me off reading more of Miriam Toews’ intriguing work, but I hope that future narrations will be more lively and pertinent.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • HC
  • 07-05-22

Stunning, beautiful, devastating and joyous

A thoughtful and thought provoking exploration of the idea of suicide as euthanasia for people suffering with mental illness. Miriam Toews skilful writing cleverly keeps its hand on the small of the reader’s back, steering us safely through ground that is painful at times, until we find ourselves back in the light. It’s an extraordinary novel.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr. M. Hassan
  • 02-26-21

Great read

I loved this book and felt so involved in the characters lives that I didn't want to end it! Miriam Toews is a beautiful writer, this story is all the more poignant that it came from true experiences. Her views on the mental health system, even though in Canada are very accurate and insightful .

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • SHADOW smash
  • 09-09-19

Longwinded and depressing!

This a very slow book with nothing to lift the spirits It centres on a woman who just wants to die. It is hard to sympathise with her as she comes from a loving family, is a successful and talented concert pianist and she has a partner who adores her. I couldn’t get over her selfishness at caring more about her wish to die than the effect her suicide would have on those who loved her. It dragged on at the end and left me wishing I hadn’t bothered! Having said that, it was well written and narrated and I loved the poetry excerpts.