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Praise for Mennonites Don’t Dance

It’s reasonably safe to say that most writers worry about how their books will be received once published. The reviewing public can be a special source of anxiety, but it can also be a font of reassurance. For Darcie Friesen Hossack–whose debut collection of short stories, Mennonites Don’t Dance (Thistledown Press 2010), received pre-publication praise from Giller Prize-nominee Sandra Birdsell, Commonwealth Prize-winning author Pearl Luke, and Governor General’s Award-nominee Andreas Schroeder–reviewers have been the latter.

In reviewing Mennonites Don’t Dance in November, the Calgary Beacon remarked on the “compassion and eloquence” of Darcie’s writing and the vivid characters that she “[describes] so close to the bone you will be unable to separate them from small pieces of yourself.”

Now the Mennonite Weekly Review has published a sensitive review that highlights not only the strengths of Darcie’s writing, but a profound understanding of the themes of Mennonites Don’t Dance:

Hossack captures well the mien of the descendants of the early Mennonite settlers in southern Saskatchewan faced with struggle after struggle to survive, sometimes winning, sometimes losing, not realizing they have choices about attitude even when they seem to be losing….

These people, like the kittens in one story, suffocate and die when confined or break like delicate teacups when dropped. Yet there is a near-hidden shining to them. Mixed in with their frailties are love of family, prayer, thankfulness, generosity, faith and the ability to forgive even the ugliest actions, even murder….

The stories are well written, with vivid imagery, by someone who knows well the rural prairies and the Mennonites who lived there. 

You can read the Mennonite Weekly Review‘s assessment in its entirety here.

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