Finalist for the Atwood-Gibson Writers' Trust Fiction Prize
Finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize
“You're a small thing,” Grandma writes, “and you must learn to fight.” Swiv's Grandma, Elvira, has been fighting all her life. From her upbringing in a strict religious community, she has fought those who wanted to take away her joy, her independence, and her spirit. She has fought to make peace with her loved ones when they have chosen to leave her. And now, even as her health fails, Grandma is fighting for her family: for her daughter, partnerless and in the third term of a pregnancy; and for her granddaughter Swiv, a spirited nine-year-old who has been suspended from school. Cramped together in their Toronto home, on the precipice of extraordinary change, Grandma and Swiv undertake a vital new project, setting out to explain their lives in letters they will never send.
Alternating between the exuberant, precocious voice of young Swiv and her irrepressible, tenacious Grandma, Fight Night is a love letter to mothers and grandmothers, and to all the women who are still fighting-painfully, ferociously—for a way to live on their own terms.
“Miriam Toews is wickedly funny and fearlessly honest . . . She is an artist of escape; she always finds a way for her characters, trapped by circumstance, to liberate themselves.”—The New Yorker
“Like the best of Toews’ novels, Fight Night deals with weighty subjects—suicide, aging, illness, and mortality—with a keen sense of humor . . . As a narrator, Swiv is charming and hilarious, her grandmother even moreso. I laughed and cried reading this book; I can’t think of a higher endorsement.”—BuzzFeed
“A novel as moving as it is full of humor . . . As Susan Cole, in Now Magazine, says, ‘Few authors mix humor and deep emotion with Toews’s skill.’”—The Millions
“A relentlessly entertaining novel about three generations of women living under one roof, most of it rambunctiously reported by Swiv. While you will find Toews’ trademark themes of survival and community here, this novel is an absurdist comedy that will make you giggle into your soup.”—Lit Hub
“Brilliant . . . Toews gives Swiv a voice that is sophisticated, childlike and utterly believable . . . the wonder of Fight Night is that it’s a warmhearted and inventive portrait of women who have learned to fight against adversity.”—BookPage (starred review)
“Fight Night is a headlong rush of a novel narrated by a precocious nine-year-old girl who is doing everything she can to keep her troubled mother from falling apart and her irrepressible grandmother alive. Tender, heart-wrenching, darkly funny, and ultimately joyful, this novel pulses with life.”—Christina Baker Kline, bestselling author of The Exiles and Orphan Train
“The last book that made me cry: Miriam Toews’s Fight Night. It took only a line or two to be reminded of why I read fiction and why I write it. Toews doesn’t simply narrate a story; she fashions a world.”—Joshua Ferris, author of A Calling for Charlie Barnes
“In Fight Night as in her previous books, Miriam Toews is a genius. Her gigantic mind and heart are singular; her sentence-making powers, extraordinary. Living in a time when Toews is writing is a reason to rejoice.”—R.O. Kwon, author of The Incendiaries
“Here comes Fight Night, by Miriam Toews of Women Talking! 3 gens of ornery, funny gals, including the 9 year old narrator. Sets standards for grandmotherly swearing and outspokenness I can never hope to match. Go Grandma Elvira!”—Margaret Atwood
“[A] charming, open-hearted book . . . Funny and sad and exquisitely tender.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Fierce and funny, this gives undeniable testimony to the life force of family . . . a knockout.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)