Women Talking

Women Talking

A Novel

eBook - 2018
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A FINALIST FOR THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S LITERARY AWARD: A transformative and necessary work—as completely unexpected as it is inspired—by the award-winning author of the bestselling novels All My Puny Sorrows and A Complicated Kindness.The sun rises on a quiet June morning in 2009. August Epp sits alone in the hayloft of a barn, anxiously bent over his notebook. He writes quickly, aware that his solitude will soon be broken. Eight women—ordinary grandmothers, mothers and teenagers; yet to August, each one extraordinary— will climb the ladder into the loft, and the day's true task will begin. This task will be both simple and subversive: August, like the women, is a traditional Mennonite, and he has been asked to record a secret conversation. Thus begins Miriam Toews' spellbinding novel. Gradually, as we hear the women's vivid voices console, tease, admonish, regale and debate each other, we piece together the reason for the gathering: they have forty-eight hours to make a life-altering choice on behalf of all the women and children in the colony. And like a vast night sky coming into view behind the bright sparks of their voices, we learn of the devastating events that have led to this moment. Acerbic, funny, tender, sorrowful and wise, Women Talking is composed of equal parts humane love and deep anger. It is award-winning writer Miriam Toews' most astonishing novel to date, containing within its two short days and hayloft setting an expansive, timeless universe of thinking and feeling about women—and men—in our contemporary world.
Publisher: 2018.
ISBN: 9780735273986
Characteristics: 1 online resource
1 online resource.

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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.

Dec 08, 2019

Difficult, but brilliant.

Oct 23, 2019

If I could give this book negative stars, I would.
It has to be the worst written book I have ever attempted to read ("attempted" because I could not waste any more of my time with this conglomeration of words). Reviews by critics claiming "flawless, ferocious work of art" and "brilliant design" just proves that critics of novels, as with art, are not to be trusted. I have to wonder if they read the same book. No flow, no organization, no rhyme or reason to what is being told. As for a comparison to "The Handmaids Tale"...not sure what book that critic was reading, but it could not have been this one.
My advice...don't waste your time.

Oct 19, 2019

"There's no plot, we're only women talking."
Inspired by a true story, Canadian writer Miriam Toews's novel is set in a small Mennonite community, in which multiple women have been drugged and violated. Toews, who grew up Mennonite, structures her novel in an unusual way, which clearly turned off a number of readers. It's set up as the minutes of the women meeting to talk about what to do about the incidents, recorded by an ex-con named August. I thought it was an interesting approach and found the novel quite gripping and, despite its remote setting, relevant to contemporary social issues and debates.

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