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Mennonites Don't Dance Paperback – September 30, 2010
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There's an unfussy purity of expression here, and of narrative control, that sometimes recalls the short fiction of Alistair MacLeod.
Hossack's writing may remind readers of...Mennonite authors Patrick Friesen and Miriam Toews.
The stories are well written, with vivid imagery, by someone who knows well the rural prairies and the Mennonites who lived there.
From the Back Cover
Darcie Hossack's stories reverberate with what has been left unsaid, the silence between people that speaks of betrayal, forgiveness, and the power of love to prevail. This is a fine debut by a very promising writer.
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In one of the stories called Ashes, Anke has lost her husband Abraham and has no choice but to sell her house to her son Matthew, who is newly married to Libby. Anke feels as though she's the unwelcome guest in the upstairs bedroom. She wonders if they appreciate her sacrifice.
Libby, the new daughter-in-law has taken over and wants to make the house hers. Anke dislikes Libby instantly and feels that Libby is trying to change things.
It begins with Anke and Libby bickering over how many peaches go into one peach pie. Libby begins by heaping all the peaches into one pie crust and is soon corrected by Anke who can make six peach pies out of all those peaches. Anke begins by scooping out all the fruit in the one pie and dividing it into six pie crusts and now, six pies go into the oven.
Libby is expecting her very first child and her mother-in-law Anke wants the baby to be named Abraham after Anke's late husband, but Libby rejects naming her baby after a dead person.
Libby decides on the name Abel. Anke is getting angrier with each moment and says "so you won't use the name of my dead husband, but you would curse a child with the name of the first person murdered on this earth." Libby then asks her mother-in-law "what if it's a girl?" Anke replies by saying she doesn't want any "new-age" names.
Anke insists on a solid German European name like Ruth, after her late baby daughter.
Tragedy strikes and Anke and Libby have bridged the generation gap for now. They both have something in common and their lives have changed forever.
Throughout the stories, God is Supreme in the house of the Mennonites. Whatever happens in life whether good or bad, it is the will of God and He is not to be questioned.
In the Mennonite home, the father rules while the mother tends to the children and to the home, yet still taking instructions from her husband.
They are always confronted by the conflict of Tradition and Change with the young Mennonites growing up.
Although the Mennonites' culture is different than any other, many of the problems that arise can happen in all homes.
This collection of stories is a GEM. Darcie Friesen Hossack's writing is so beautiful, honest and full of grace. Her characters are vibrant and full of personality.
Mennonites Don't Dance would make a wonderful gift for any occasion.
I enjoyed this book of stories immensely and give it my highest recommendation of FIVE out of FIVE STARS.
Each story has many layers, allowing the reader to interpret and get different things out of them each reading, at different times in their lives. This book is bound to be a Canadian classic-- stories that will stand the test of time and can be read over and over.