This moving and funny story portrays three generations of women trying to find love on their own terms. When nine year old Swiv is expelled from school for fighting, she starts spending her days with her frail grandmother who has an unconventional approach to at-home schooling. She tasks Swiv with writing letters to her absent father, who seems to have abandoned his daughter and pregnant wife—and in these letters, a book's worth of complex family history and present struggles is revealed. A bighearted novel with an undercurrent of sadness, with wisdom far beyond its 9-year-old narrator's years.
“Move over, Scout Finch! There’s a new contender for feistiest girl in fiction, and her name is Swiv.” –USA Today, “Best Books of the Year”
“Toews is a master of dialogue.” –New York Times Book Review, Editors’ Choice
“A revelation.” -Richard Russo
NPR Best Books of the Year * Shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize * Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize Finalist * Indie Next Pick * Amazon Editors’ Pick * Apple Book of the Month
From the bestselling author of Women Talking and All My Puny Sorrows, a compassionate, darkly humorous, and deeply wise novel about three generations of women.
“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.