Women Talking by Miriam Toews
Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for the advanced copy of this incredible read - all opinions are my own.
This book is a revelation. It is in equal measures brilliant, heartbreaking, inspiring and unbelievable, and Miriam Toews deserves every ounce of praise available for bringing this story to life on the page.
As a Canadian book blogger, I am always looking for work by Canadian authors that I can read and support. I was absolutely enraptured with the synopsis of this book, particularly the fact that this is based on very real, horrifying, devastating events that took place between 2005 and 2009 in a remote Mennonite community where more than 100 girls and women were drugged unconscious and raped in the night by what they were told were "ghosts" or "demons." Miriam wrote a stunning imagined response that follows the truth of the attacks being revealed to have being perpetrated by men from the community, and 8 women debating over 48 hours how they will respond to these men being bailed out to return home.
I doubt I can adequately portray how incredible this book truly is, how deeply it resonated with me - the stories and strength and determination of these women to protect themselves and their children from horrors so unspeakable, despite the fact that their only options to do so are each tremendously painful in their own measure. Women reeling from the realities of having been raped, beaten and impregnated against their wills. Women coming to terms with the fact that their children, including a three year old girl, have suffered the same abuses. Miriam writes these women so adeptly, making them each so nuanced and complex, and so wonderfully human. I felt as though I knew these women and spent each page rooting for them to find a way to escape to live a safe and happy life.
I could not urge you enough to read this story. This story moved me, and will be one that I revisit many times. It is a story that is not always easy to read, but there is beauty to be found despite all the horror. It is a story that should be told and heard if for no other reason than to remember that there were real victims that suffered this fate, and to know their story is to give them back their power.
This is a book that will stay with me for many years to come, and one that I am eternally grateful for having come into my small corner of the bookish world.