“Told from the perspective of a little girl named Swiv, who lives with her pregnant mother and eccentric grandmother, Fight Night is filled with laugh-out-loud, subtle, and smart observations of family dynamics and the human condition.”
— Mia Wigmore, DIESEL, A Bookstore (Brentwood), Brentwood, CA
"Move over, Scout Finch! There’s a new contender for feistiest girl in fiction, and her name is Swiv." -USA Today
From the bestselling author of Women Talking and All My Puny Sorrows, a compassionate, darkly humorous, and deeply wise new novel about three generations of women.
Indie Next Pick
Amazon Editors' Pick
Apple Book of the Month
Finalist for the Atwood-Gibson Writers' Trust Fiction Prize
Longlisted 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.
“I’ve heard it theorized that every great artist circles her own central fire, a core trauma too bright and too hot to touch yet whose light is caught, refracted, in her works. Miriam Toews gets so close to the fire that the pages of her books may as well be singed . . . If the book’s overwhelming tenderness makes the reader cry, they’ll be, as Swiv’s mother teaches her, ‘tears of happiness.'” - Nadja Spiegelman, New York Times
“Move over, Scout Finch! There’s a new contender for feistiest girl in fiction, and her name is Swiv. She’s the 9-year-old narrator of Miriam Toews’ spectacular new novel, Fight Night . . . A big-hearted, briskly paced family saga about the extraordinary love that binds three generations of free-spirited women together, and the tools and techniques that they’ve had to develop to survive.” - USA Today, "5 books not to miss"
“Miriam Toews [has] explained that she thinks of all of her novels as ‘one big book.’ . . . . [her] latest, Fight Night, brings the thread of her 'one big book' back home and broadens what it means to stay and fight. . . . as Elvira says, ‘To be alive means full body contact with the absurd. Still, we can be happy.’ This is an apt mission statement for Toews's body of work. Fight Night makes an ardent, hilarious, and moving addition.” - NPR.org
“All [Toews’] novels include her Canadian Mennonite background, her family’s struggles with mental illness, and her humor in the face of life’s slings and arrows. It’s material worthy of a life’s work, and not one of Toews’s books (including a memoir about her father’s death by suicide, Swing Low) is like another, neither in tone nor in structure nor in plot . . . Miriam Toews will make you cheer and sob for all concerned in her richly imagined Fight Night.” - Boston Globe
“A touching tribute to the matrilineal bond among three women of different generations, emphasizing the ways in which joy (as Elvira tells her granddaughter Swiv, our 9-year-old narrator) can be a form of resistance . . . Toews’ greatest talent lies in creating messy and lovable characters--the kind of people you’d want on your team (or coaching your team) if you were in a fight. Not because they are the strongest, but because somewhere inside themselves they’ve found the energy to keep moving forward.” - Los Angeles Times
“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, The Guardian
“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, “The Best Books Coming Out This Fall”
“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, “Most Anticipated Books of 2021”
“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, “Most Anticipated”
“Fierce and funny, this gives undeniable testimony to the life force of family . . . a knockout.” - Publishers Weekly, starred review
“[A] charming, open-hearted book . . . Funny and sad and exquisitely tender.” - Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“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
“Women Talking author Toews is at the top of her game in this novel centered on three generations of women in a Toronto family . . . The novel is fierce and funny, and gives undeniable testimony to the life force of family.” - Publishers Weekly, "Holiday Gift Guide"
“[A] tightknit, funny, ferocious trio . . . This novel, with its stream-of-consciousness style, unfiltered raucous humor, and hard-won wisdom is the kind of reading that makes me evangelical. I adored the girl and the women in Fight Night and am grateful to Miriam Toews to bringing them so beautifully to life.” - Gilmore Guide to Books
“Powerhouse Canadian novelist Miriam Toews (whose popular novel Women Talking will be adapted into a 2022 movie starring Rooney Mara and Claire Foy) returns with an impressive new work told through a rambling letter in the voice of 9-year-old Swiv.” - Bitch, "13 Books Feminists Should Read”
“Singular, creative, and interesting . . . with quite a bit of that charming family warmth thrown in too. Most importantly, Leos love to laugh, and this book will have them doing just that.” - LitHub, "The Astrology Book Club"
“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
“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 via Twitter
“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