Women Talking

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 25 May 2018

Member Reviews

An interesting premise that didn't grab me and I had to force myself to finish the book. Sometimes I love Miriam Toews and sometimes she falls flat for me. Unfortunately, this was one of the times when she fell flat.
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One of my most-anticipated books of Fall 2018: this book is bold, unusual, urgent, both timely and timeless. It's based on historical fact: an isolated group of Mennonite women discover that they have been systematically drugged and sexually assaulted by men in their community. The novel takes the form of a transcript of two conversations during which they decide whether to leave their community and enter a world none of them has ever been allowed to learn anything about, or to stay and fight. It's compelling, startling and moving, and highlights the #TimesUp movement's relevance for women of all walks of life.
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Women Talking
I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchage for an honest review
This novel by Miriam Toews is set in the Mennonite coloony of Molotschana. The colony has been shaken by the discovery that the women--who appeared to have been suffering from visits from demons in the night--had actually been drugged and assaulted by eight members of the colony. Their own brothers sons and fathers. The men responsible have been jailed and the other men in the colony have gone into the city to try to get them out on bail. So the women need to talk, reflect on the situation and figure out how to move forward. One man, August Epp--an outcast himself--is recruited as the one to take the minutes of the meeting.
This is not a book with a lot of action in it. However, the dialogue uncovers the depth of belief, faith and values that underpin the lives of these women. Women who suffer under a totally patriarchal society where they are not permitted to learn to read and are raised with the biblical tenet of obedience to their husbands and other men of the colony. These strengths and values are what they need to rely on in order to make a decision that will change their lives forever whether they decide to
Do nothing
Stay and fight or
Three choices. Which one is right for them, their God and the people they care about.
Toews includes an acknowledgement of all women and gurls living in patriarchal, authoritarian communities throughout the world. This story offers hope that, just perhaps, change may be able to happen.
Well worth the read!
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