Jenny (Reading Envy)'s Reviews > Women Talking

Women Talking by Miriam Toews
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bookshelves: read2019, reviewcopy, ebooks, cults-and-communes

Based on a real life event, Miriam Toews writes about how the women of a Mennonite community deal with the uncovering of ongoing sexual abuse at the hands of the men in their own community. Do they stay? Do they forgive?

I love Toews and her novel All My Puny Sorrows was an amazing read - so much between the lines, deceptively simple, heartbreaking about sisters and mental illness. Yet in this scenario with a far more heightened situation I felt less invested in what was happening. Part of it is the narrator, a male who is taking notes of the women talking since they are illiterate. It creates a barrier that I'm not sure the reader can completely overcome.

And the entire novel is the women talking, not what happens after. The author has to navigate philosophical conversations between women who are illiterate and don't know anything beyond their community and the knowledge they have been allowed to obtain. Even their understanding of forgiveness, which is one of the core discussion points, comes from the very men that abused the women and children. When they realize this, it is almost enough to start a revolution. As a reader, I wanted to see the payoff, and I think I felt a little shortchanged. But she did something, as I observed myself holding my breath when a husband came home early.

I received a copy from the publisher through Edelweiss. The book came out April 2, 2019.
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Reading Progress

April 23, 2019 – Started Reading
April 25, 2019 – Shelved
April 25, 2019 – Finished Reading
April 27, 2019 –
April 28, 2019 – Shelved as: read2019
April 28, 2019 – Shelved as: reviewcopy
April 28, 2019 – Shelved as: ebooks
April 28, 2019 – Shelved as: cults-and-communes

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message 1: by Kathryn (new) - added it

Kathryn This one is on my list too -- can't wait to read your review!

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