41 pages 1 hour read

Miriam Toews

A Complicated Kindness

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2004

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Chapters 8-14

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 8 Summary

Nomi decides to say goodbye to her acquaintances, even though she’s not leaving. She starts with Grace, a friend from school, who asks if the new picture put up in the museum village is of Nomi. It turns out to be a picture of her taken when she accidentally lit her bonnet on fire with a cigarette while volunteering.

Nomi then goes to see Mrs. Peters, who always treats Nomi well because she is the same age as her son, Clayton, who passed away by drowning at four years old. When Mrs. Peters asks Nomi what she’s been doing, she hesitates, not wanting her to think of her son as a shiftless pot smoker. When the conversation turns to Mrs. Peters seeing Clayton again in heaven, Nomi can’t help but bring up complicating specifics that challenge Mrs. Peters’ beliefs. In the end, Nomi can’t bring herself to say goodbye to Mrs. Peters.

Nomi then decides to visit Lids in the hospital. When she sees that the nurse has left papers that Mr. Quiring dropped off sitting on Lydia’s bed—Lydia doesn’t have the strength to move the papers herself, and they’ve just been sitting there—Nomi confronts the nurse. The conversation escalates to other matters of Lydia’s care, and the nurse dismisses Nomi as crazy and demanding, just like the rest of her family.