Women Talking by Miriam Toews

Women talking

Faber is offering copies of this shocking but touching novel, based on a reallife event, to reading groups. Faber is looking for reading groups that would be happy to be filmed discussing the book. For this reason, they are particularly seeking groups based in or around the London area.

About the book

A profound and virtuosic fictional response to the so-called ‘ghost rapes of Bolivia’, from the award-winning author of All My Puny Sorrows.

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 without understanding why – their stories were dismissed as flights of ‘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 to decide 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’ 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.

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