Renovating Heaven

ebook

By Andreas Schroeder

cover image of Renovating Heaven

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Hilarious, bizarre and heart-breaking by turns, this novel in triptych about Mennonite life in Canada from the 1950s to the 1970s fills in the gap between Rudy Wiebe's "Of This Earth" (a generation older) and Miriam Toews' "A Complicated Kindness" (a generation younger). Leaving Germany with little more than their 16th century Anabaptist faith and lifestyle to guide them, Schroeder's family settles on a small Fraser Valley farm in British Columbia and proceeds to try making sense of the perplexing mores and values of "The English" who surround them. The family finds solace, but not much else, within the local Mennonite congregation founded by Schroeder's grandfather, every single one of whose sixty-two members is related to Schroeder on his mother's side. In more forgiving times, these stories might have been described as largely autobiographical. However, given today's more stringent standards—not to mention Schroeder's enthusiastic dedication to all the elements of effective storytelling (or, as his siblings would have it, "inclination to rampant lying and exaggeration")—Schroeder has raised the white flag and called these stories "a novel in triptych." That should go some distance to protecting the guilty and mollifying the innocent—if such there be.

Renovating Heaven