Women Talking

Women Talking

eBook - 2019
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National Bestseller "This amazing, sad, shocking, but touching novel, based on a real-life event, could be right out of The Handmaid's Tale. +? --Margaret Atwood , on Twitter "Scorching . . . Women Talking is a wry, freewheeling novel of ideas that touches on the nature of evil, questions of free will, collective responsibility, cultural determinism, and, above all, forgiveness." -- New York Times Book Review , Editor's Choice 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. NAMED ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2019 BY ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY * ESQUIRE * VULTURE * BUZZFEED * BOSTON GLOBE * AV CLUB's * NYLON * MEDIUM * THE MILLIONS * HUFFINGTON POST * THE RUMPUS * LIT HUB * PUBLISHERS WEEKLY * THE WEEK * AM New York * USA TODAY * LOS ANGELES TIMES
Publisher: 2019.
ISBN: 9781635572599
Branch Call Number: eBook overdrive
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: Overdrive, Inc

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s
SidheWrites
Jul 04, 2019

This is based on actual events, however it isn't the story I assumed it would be. I have nothing against books that challenge me, but this was an extremely difficult read due to the subject matter and the fact that the crimes perpetrated against the women of this Mennonite Community are sadly not unique.

I was not a fan of the writing style, nor did I understand how the narrator could still carry so much guilt/baggage after being "out in the world" for so long. It is not as though they were insulated or uneducated. Did they suffer indoctrination/abuse that was so ingrained they were not able to find a way to let it go? If so, it wasn't addressed in the book at all but certainly would have explained things.

l
laphampeak
May 27, 2019

A very thought provoking novel based on a real event where eight women in a Mennonite community ponder and meticulously evaluate their life "after" events of horrific violation. Bear in mind these women have been led by a set of rules of submission and religious rule of law. It's a significant evaluation of decisions of whether to do anything, what to do, and how to do it. A slice of life in women's power.

k
KatG1983
May 27, 2019

I think I wasn't smart enough for this book. Didn't make it past page 80. It basically is a philosophical conversation on the topic of women's/human rights...and...it was too boring to continue.

TSCPL_Miranda May 12, 2019

Between 2005 and 2009, hundreds of girls and women were drugged and raped by men in their Mennonite community. At first, they were told that it was their wild female imagination. Then they were told that they were being attacked by the devil. The truth was that the women had been assaulted by their neighbors. The youngest known victim was 3 years old, the oldest 65. Women Talking is just as the title describes, a group of women gathering to talk about what happened and decide what they will do. The women are unable to read or write, so a male teacher from the colony is drafted to write an account of the conversations, to keep a record. Note: the teacher is considered a lesser man, someone not masculine enough to farm. The book reads like a transcript or meeting minutes, recorded faithfully, with occasional interjections from the writer's perspective. Over the course of several days, the women debate three options: do nothing, stay and fight, or leave. As they debate the options before them, the women discuss authority, power, Biblical interpretation of women's roles, how to best stay true to the pacifist tenets of their faith, and more. This is not a book that is fast-paced or driven by action, though the talks are conducted under a deadline. This is a conversation with philosophical leanings, driven by a true story almost too horrible to believe.
Women Talking is shocking, difficult, beautiful, and important. I had to read it in small bites and then give myself time to process before reading more, but ultimately it is a triumph, a story of women taking charge of their own destinies, and banding together to envision a better future.

t
therapymutt
Apr 20, 2019

don't rush the read the story is in the conversation. not the ending

m
Miriamrg
Apr 12, 2019

NYTimes recommendation

l
lettheheelingbegin
Apr 11, 2019

My first by this author. An original story idea--gritty-- that’s for sure. I found it a bit slow at first, but engaging by a third of the way through this short book. Based on an actual story of Mennonite women in their rarified traditional colony! The book primarily consists of the women’s discussions about what they should do after several of their men are arrested for their depraved misdeeds. Good writing and a fine ending. I've already put a hold on my next book by Toews.

b
bronteside
Feb 23, 2019

Not my favourite Toews;a little slow -but well written.
A kind of Handmaid’s Tale- a rebellion in a Latin American Gilead.
Sexual assault is ubiquitous- from first world to third world.
And when partnered with the “church” and shaped in the backwoods
It makes the voices of these women alarmingly clear- even in their ambiguity.

2
21221018293347
Feb 21, 2019

Frustrating. The women do too much talking and not enough thinking. I suppose there are still communities in which men rule and women have no voice or personal thoughts. I could not finish this book.

q
Quietday
Dec 19, 2018

3.5 The most difficult aspect about this book for me was not even the events that precipitated the women talking. It's the fact that despite horrendous abuse and injustice, they are on the fence about it.

When you are raised within a strict religious paradigm, you are never taught or granted the freedom to think for yourself. Its it like Orwell's "Animal Farm" where the whole barnyard goes along thinking they have some wonderful plan and yet the pigs are changing all the rules, selfish and corrupt. For example, as these women debate the bible, they realize that since they can't read, they have only followed rules the men told them were biblical and now that they can't trust them, what do they do?

Very thought provoking.

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