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In a remote Mennonite community in the late 2000's, more than 100 girls and women were sexually assaulted as they were drugged at night, and then told that it was demons who visited them instead of the real culprits—the men of the colony. Miriam Toews takes real life events and creates a fictional world in which the women—uneducated and without decision-making power—come together over two nights to decide whether to fight or flee in order to save themselves and their daughters. In quiet desperation, these women discuss philosophy, faith, relationships and their needs, and ultimately reclaim their agency as individuals and their role in a community of women. This is a book you will never forget.— Casey
A compelling examination of the brutality women endure, written in sparse yet poetic language reminiscent of that of Marilyn Robinson's Gilead. When faced with the horrific actions of the men of their community, the women of the Mennonite colony of Molotchna stretch beyond the limitations of their society, taking their fate into their own hands for the first time. As they bicker and philosophize, they discover the depths of their connections to each other, and the promise of a community worth protecting.— Jess
“Women Talking is an eloquent exploration of how a group mind coalesces — as a kind of vision that comes in fits and starts, arguments and digression — to finally arrive at a decision. Or, read another way, it’s a compelling examination of the opposing voices in our own heads as we wrestle with impossible choices between the known and the unknown. What’s most compelling about Toews’ novel is its lack of sensationalism and how it shows real people struggling through the aftermath of devastating violence. Grounded in a religious culture where suffering and obedience are an expectation, these women grapple with uneasy answers to what’s best for themselves and their children. Women Talking is the quiet, startling story of coming to terms with how, or if, we save ourselves.”
— Steve Mitchell, Scuppernong Books, Greensboro, NC