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Book: Fight Night

Fight Night

By Miriam Toews
Published in 2021 by Knopf Canada
Finished reading: February 6th, 2022
Rating: 4 / 5


Fight Night is told in the unforgettable voice of Swiv, a nine-year-old living in Toronto with her pregnant mother, who is raising Swiv while caring for her own elderly, frail, yet extraordinarily lively mother. When Swiv is expelled from school, Grandma takes on the role of teacher and gives her the task of writing to Swiv’s absent father about life in the household during the last trimester of the pregnancy. In turn, Swiv gives Grandma an assignment: to write a letter to “Gord,” her unborn grandchild (and Swiv’s soon-to-be brother or sister). “You’re a small thing,” Grandma writes to Gord, “and you must learn to fight.”


She said what makes a tragedy bearable and unbearable is the same thing — which is that life goes on.


Fight Night is everything you expect from Miriam Toews: smart, funny, relatable, and heavy in parts but still easy-to-read. It’s a focussed story of three generations of women trying to make it through life with humour, sarcasm, reflection, and a healthy dose of sighing. The incredibly natural language and flow is what really got me though. It’s like reading a word-for-word transcription of the characters’ everyday life.