Women Talking

Women Talking

A Novel

Book - 2019
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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?
Publisher: New York, NY : Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019.
ISBN: 9781635572582
Characteristics: 216 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm.


From Library Staff

Recommended by Barbara Everson

Recommended by Mary V, Community Relations

“In a modern-day Mennonite community, eight women surreptitiously gather in a barn to decide their future after learning the truth behind two years of sexual assaults committed by neighbors and family members. Their circuitous, swooping two-day conversation touches on faith, autonomy, duty, anger... Read More »

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Dec 30, 2020

Miriam Toews manages to capture the levity and the sorrow of the women of the Meloschna colony as they struggle to decide whether to stay and fight, leave, or do nothing in the wake of years of sexual assault. Told through the lens of a perceptive male narrator, Toews contemplates the role of women in a society that has decided that they are little more than property. I found this text to be very insightful; Toews creates multi-faceted characters who are all already rebelling against their prescribed roles and yet cling to their current reality. The tone of the novel manages to be uplifting despite the devastating trauma that lies underneath the surface.

flightofabluebird Dec 18, 2020

The fact that this book is based on true events makes it super powerful. I love how it is written through the voice/documentation created by August. Well worth the read, I look forward to reading more books by Toews.

Dec 06, 2020

Effective ending, despite the fact that the major action of the finale is telegraphed early. It's about the journey, presumably.

Aug 29, 2020

Based on a true story, at center are eight women living in a highly patriarchal, autocratic Mennonite community who have secretly retreated to a barn loft to discuss their options. For years women and girls in the community have awakened sore, bruised, and bleeding and were told they were being attacked by demons in the night or that they had overactive imaginations. The demons have turned out to be men from their community who have rendered them unconscious with belladonna and then attacked them. The women have established three options: do nothing, stay and fight, or leave and these eight women have been given the task of deciding between options two and three by all who disagree with "do nothing". The resultant discussion is remarkable as, individually and as a group, they dissect who they are, what they believe in, what their responsibilities are, what the boundaries of love include, and face their fears. They are illiterate, speak only the language of their community, have no experience with the world "outside", cannot even read a map so the option to leave is not simple. There are disagreements, funny exchanges between rival philosophies, heartfelt expressions of love and caring but they are under time constraints because the men of the community have gone to town for two days to raise money to bail the attackers out of jail and if they are leaving they must make their escape in advance of the return. Wonderful characters, outstanding dialogue, and help from unexpected individuals.

May 15, 2020

This is not a long book so doesn't take much time to read. The topic of the novel is how abused women in a religious colony in South America decide what actions to take after several men in the colony who have abused them have been taken to the city jail. The author has a novel way of telling the women's story through minutes taken of their discussions about what they should do to protect themselves and their children from future harm by these men when they return to the colony after getting bailed out from jail. These discussions didn't hold my interest for long, but I continued to read to see how the author ended the story. She always has a point of view or a twist at the end of her stories and, in this story, the revelation didn't disappoint.

Mar 17, 2020

Too many characters to keep up with, and unfortunately I felt the dialogue and storyline of these women to be too modern and idealistic for what I would really think these conversations would have been. Based on a true story, I decided to read up on some of the news articles that covered this Mennonite society and situation, and I wish the story more accurately reflected the trials and tribulations of what had happened. In short, too much of a fairy tale and intelligent conversations between characters for me. I would have preferred to read a more raw and disorganized story for this particular one.

Feb 14, 2020

Tragic Story. Too many characters to keep track of and hard to read. I kept with it for a while as it helped me fall asleep at night but really would not recommend.

Jan 30, 2020

10 years ago i purchased one of her books -forgot the name. Tossed it into the fire after 20 blasphemophous (sp) pages.

Jan 28, 2020

Hard to read, couldn't keep my interest. Not as exciting as the description is made out to be. The women end up discussing topics far off base from the description and sole reason for meeting, Did not complete.

Jan 13, 2020

Hard to read. Did not complete.

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