Women Talking – Miriam Toews

Women Talking – Miriam Towes

I am not sure when I first heard of this author. I tried to find her books at my local book store, but they didn’t have any. In the end I found this one at the library.

Here’s the blurb …

Between 2005 and 2009, in a remote religious Mennonite colony, over a hundred girls and women were knocked unconscious and raped, often repeatedly, by what many thought were ghosts or demons, as a punishment for their sins. As the women tentatively began to share the details of the attacks-waking up sore and bleeding and not understanding why their stories were chalked up to ‘wild female imagination.’

Women Talking is an imagined response to these real events. Eight women, all illiterate, without any knowledge of the world outside their colony and unable even to speak the language of the country they live in, meet secretly in a hayloft with the intention of making a decision about how to protect themselves and their daughters from future harm. They have two days to make a plan, while the men of the colony are away in the city attempting to raise enough money to bail out the rapists (not ghosts as it turns out but local men) and bring them home.

How should we live? How should we love? How should we treat one another? How should we organise our societies? These are questions the women in Women Talking ask one another-and Miriam Toews makes them the questions we must all ask ourselves.

I really enjoyed this, although it made me angry when I thought about all of the women and children living under such a system. The writing is beautiful, simple but powerful. At times it is darkly funny, but it is also sad and occasionally frustrating (the women get bogged down in semantics – like any meeting anywhere)

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