November 2019: Women Talking, by Miriam Toews

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019 – discussion lead: Jan

From Goodreads: One evening, eight Mennonite women climb into a hay loft to conduct a secret meeting. For the past two years, each of these women, and more than a hundred other girls in their colony, has been repeatedly violated in the night by demons coming to punish them for their sins. Now that the women have learned they were in fact drugged and attacked by a group of men from their own community, they are determined to protect themselves and their daughters from future harm.

While the men of the colony are off in the city, attempting to raise enough money to bail out the rapists and bring them home, these women—all illiterate, without any knowledge of the world outside their community and unable even to speak the language of the country they live in—have very little time to make a choice: Should they stay in the only world they’ve ever known or should they dare to escape?

Based on real events and told through the “minutes” of the women’s all-female symposium, Toews’s masterful novel uses wry, politically engaged humor to relate this tale of women claiming their own power to decide.

The Guardian interiew with the author hereMiriam Toews: ‘I needed to write about these women. I could have been one of them’

About the author: 

From wikipedia: Miriam Toews (/ˈteɪvz/; born 1964) OM is a Canadian writer, best known for her novels A Complicated Kindness and All My Puny Sorrows. She has won a number of literary prizes including the Governor General’s Award for Fiction and the Writers’ Trust Engel/Findley Award for body of work. She is also a two-time finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and a two-time winner of the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize.

Toews had a leading role in the feature film Silent Light, written and directed by Mexican filmmaker, Carlos Reygadas and winner of the 2007 Cannes Jury Prize, an experience that informed her fifth novel, Irma Voth.

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