Women Talking by Miriam Toews

Women Talking

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...

Details Women Talking

TitleWomen Talking
Release DateApr 2nd, 2019
PublisherBloomsbury Publishing
GenreFiction, Feminism, Cultural, Canada, Contemporary, Literary Fiction

Reviews Women Talking

  • Lola
    This is, without a single doubt, the most important book I have read all year.The women have three options they can choose from, but they can choose only one. 1. Do nothing.2. Stay and fight.3. Leave. But perhaps one is enough. Perhaps that one option can open multiple other possibilities. If the women arrive to a conclusion, that is.Already from the straight-forward title, you know 90% of what is happening in this book. Women are talking about t...
  • Emily May
    I have done what the verse from Philippians instructed, which is to think about what is good, what is just, what is pure, and what is excellent. And I have arrived at an answer: pacifism. I don't understand all the starred reviews for this book.Perhaps Women Talking works better if you go into it expecting a religiophilosophical analysis, instead of a feminist novelization of a true story. There are some echoes of Plato in here, to be sure. Reade...
  • Diane S ☔
    I had to stop And think for a little more than a day on what my rating of this would be, had to separate my feelinges so I could judge what Toews has accomplished by writing this book. Quite frankly, this book made me so angry for the women in this Mennonite enclosed colony in Bolivia. Between 2005 and 2009, over 100 women and children were drugged and raped by male members of their sect. The youngest was three, a great part of what made me so an...
  • Angela M
    In the loft of a barn, the women of a Mennonite community in Bolivia meet to talk about what they should do, how they could move forward to protect themselves and their daughters from more of the vicious rapes they have endured as they were drugged in the middle of the night. I would have found this hard to imagine if not for this opening sentence of a note by the author before the book begins: “Between 2005 and 2009, in a remote Mennonite colo...
  • Elyse Walters
    The women in this book have been dealt a hand of crappy cards. AND I MEAN *CRAPPY*!!!!!The women need to talk. With only 2 days free until the men in their community return - ( its their intension to bring back the lovely rapists who have been in jail to give them back their RAPING-LEADERSHIP... cuz they are such nice wholesome decent men)...Ha!!!!! So.....while the men are away..., the women will play ( with one man allowed to play too).....Eigh...
  • emma
    the fact that this two hundred-page book took me 2 weeks to read is basically a review in and of itself.I really wanted to like this book, which is based on a true story so horrifying and unbelievable and real that it would be ridiculous if it were never fictionalized. but I just couldn't. for so many little, basically-me-being-nitpicky reasons (including the writing style and the structure and the fact that all the characters were introduced at ...
  • Debra
    "In 2011, eight men belonging to the Manitoba Mennonite Colony were convicted of a series of sexual assaults committed from 2005 to 2009. Prior to the discovery, the rapes had been attributed to a ghost or demon. The victims were reported to be between the ages of 3 and 65. The offenders used a type of gas used by veterinarians to sedate animals during medical procedures. Despite long custodial sentences for the convicted men, an investigation in...
  • Felicia
    I don't know how this book got published.A fictitious account of actual events, a dark and disturbing subject with a plethora of 4 and 5 star reviews. What could go wrong? Well, in the case of this book, everything.The entire book is spelled out in the description. Eight Mennonite women discover that themselves, along with 100+ other women and children in their community, have been drugged and raped by the community men over the course of two yea...
  • Esil
    4+ starsWomen Talking is not perfect but it is very powerful and well worth reading. Miriam Toews announces at the beginning that the book is based on true events in Bolivia, where a number of Mennonite women were raped and abused by a group of men in their community. Women Talking imagines a two day conversation amongst the women as they decide whether to stay or leave their community. The book is very short, but there is so much to the narrativ...
  • Jenna
    I don't really know how to review this book. I feel like if I try I will start crying - from sadness or rage. I wish we didn't live in a world where we need this book but oh my god how I needed to read this book. It broke my heart and made me feel like I wasn't alone in my anger. In the last year with so much finally coming to light and so much finally being talked about in more than whispers about rape, sexual harassment, the silencing of women ...
  • Eric Anderson
    In 2011, news broke worldwide about eight men belonging to a Mennonite Colony in Bolivia being convicted of a series of sexual assaults committed over several years. Over 130 girls and women had been knocked unconscious using an animal tranquilizer and raped by these men. The horror of these facts were amplified by the knowledge that these women were part of a tight knit isolated community and they were made to believe the attacks were the result...
  • verbava
    десь на півдні україни, неподалік від хортиці й річки молочної, жили меноніти. у хіх столітті жити там їм стало зовсім непросто, тож вони перебралися в канаду. у канаді, щоправда, стало зрозуміло, що на менонітський спосіб життя – закриті спільнот...
  • Ariadne
    This book might be the perfect book club read for 2019. There is plenty to chew on and discuss within this slender volume. The bulk of the story is one long conversation that takes place over the course of two days - the women of an isolated Mennonite colony have been brutally sexually abused, and now they must decide whether to stay in the only home they have known or leave for the greater unknown world. The core of the story is rooted in the te...
  • Krista
    Earnest puts his head on her shoulder and she smooths his wild, white hair. He asks if the women are devils.No, says Agata, we are your friends.He asks if the women are plotting to burn down his barn.No, Ernie, says Agata, there's no plot, we're only women talking. As author Miriam Toews explains in a brief foreward, Women Talking is based on real events: Between 2005 and 2009, the women and girls in a Bolivian Mennonite colony were waking up in ...
  • Sarah
    Somewhere between 3-3.5So much promise here - Toews presents a fictional retelling of the rape of over 100 Mennonite girls and women in a remote community in Bolivia - yet it doesn't quite live up to what it perhaps could have been. I think the choice to use a male narrator was an error, but I kind of get why it was chosen (as most if not all of the women in this community are unable to read or write). I will say that I've never read anything qui...
  • jo
    This is a daring thing to say, but I think this is Toews' best book to date. Which is says something! Review to come.REVIEWThis is one of the best books I have ever read. Its heart is so big, it covers the surface of the earth. Toews' contribution to the #metoo moment from inside a Mennonite community in Bolivia (this is a true story) is not only a tribute to the hundreds of women who were terrified and injured in this particular historical event...
  • Jennifer
    i am a huge fan of miriam toews' writing. this novel was probably my most anticipated read for 2018. which means my expectations were sky-high, even with my effort to keep it all in check. for now, i am still mulling over my reaction and feelings about the book, but wanted to get something noted here. there are some very interesting storytelling choices made -- i always feel there is so much to learn from toews' style. the writing is excellent, t...
  • Hannah Fenster
    We are so lucky to have WOMEN TALKING, which offers a window into the intricate details of a women-centered decision-making process in a community that does not have a word for patriarchy. Toew’s brilliant blend of history with thematic relevance reminds us that this setting—which feels so otherworldly—has already come and gone, time and again. With deliberation as the central action, rich, layered meanings emerge, and the women’s milesto...
  • Sarah
    Beautiful, heartbreaking, powerful, stunning. This book had it all. A heavy read but I enjoyed it immensely and I definitely recommend everyone read it when it comes out on August 21st.
  • Michael Livingston
    A brilliant and sad book about patriarchy, solidarity and power. Toews uses the real story of a horrific series of rapes in in a Bolivian Mennonite community as a jumping off point, imagining a long conversation between 8 of the women in the community as they decide whether to leave or stay. It's richly imagined and powerfully moral - the struggles of these women reflect the struggles of women everywhere and Toews' book will resonate widely.
  • Elizabeth
    Women Talking is contemporary literary fiction framed by the horrific true story of a Mennonite settlement in Bolivia where men in the settlement drugged and raped hundreds of the women and children who lived there. These men then claimed, when the women questioned, that it was either the work of God as punishment or that they were lying or imagining it. It went on for years, from at least 2005-09, paused when it got so bad that the police were c...
  • Alex
    3.5Toews tells a haunting story of a Mennonite community rattled after several of the men in the community are arrested for drugging and sexually assaulting the women and girls. The story, ironically is told by a male narrator taking minutes for theWomen as they deliberate their next step since the women cannot read or write. The women must choose whether to forgive to men or be exiled. As the women intensely debate the world view that had tied t...
  • Kevin
    Toews, one of my all-time favorite writers, often takes on real-life experiences of her own in her novels, but this time she fictions up a true story about women in a Mennonite colony who were being drugged and abused in the recent past. The limitations of these women's options are especially disturbing in this novel (the women can't read, don't have phones, or cars, or even a map) and Toews reveals these obstacles throughout these pages with wel...
  • Melinda Worfolk
    In the Acknowledgements section of this beautifully written novel, Miriam Toews writes, “I wish...to acknowledge the girls and women living in patriarchal, authoritarian (Mennonite and non-Mennonite) communities across the globe. Love and solidarity.” The book is fiction, but centred around true events that happened in an isolated Mennonite colony in Bolivia.The plot is simple: after they discover the colony’s male elders plan to compel the...
  • Jennie Shaw
    So good I can't even. Allllll the stars. Just read it.
  • Hanna
    I have truly never read anything like this before. What a cool and creative concept of reading someone's time-keeping & translations from an outside perspective. The horror of this story is that it is loosely based on real events. It begs the question, what did the real women of this story do? I'm inspired to do some research. This is an easy, short, fast-paced read that leaves a lot to be pondered. A story about systemic abuse, faith, and what i...
  • Bandit
    If you don’t know much about Mennonites this book is going to be an education. A terrifying one, because despite the fact that it’s recognized as a religion, it operates very much like a cult. Although, like some religions, it treats women very much like substandard subservient submissive members of their ranks. This book, and here’s something particularly terrifying, was based on real events that took place in a Mennonite colony in Bolivia...
  • But_i_thought_
    The premise of this book is probably one of the most fascinating I have encountered all year – think, The Handmaid's Tale, combined with the violence of Westworld and the claustrophobia of Dogville (2003). The story takes place in an ultra-conservative Mennonite community in Bolivia. Over the course of five years – from 2005 to 2009 – numerous women have reported waking up in the morning, feeling groggy, bruised, disheveled and often bleedi...
  • Liz Laurin
    I honestly have no words to describe how this book made me feel. the scene where Agata is saying goodbye to her cousin is especially heartbreaking though I'm not sure why in a book with so much horror. just the amount of kindness that she shows him in suggesting the mint for his bath and then watching as he leaves it's just beautiful. I also really love the discussion of the women not staying because it might make other people violent and that th...
  • Lauren
    Still thinking about this book days later. Tragic yet still hopeful. Definitely a must-read when it is released in August.