Women Talking

Narrated by: Matthew Edison
Length: 5 hrs and 57 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
4 out of 5 stars (24 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award

2020 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award

A transformative and necessary work - as completely unexpected as it is inspired - by the award-winning author of the best-selling 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 48 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.

©2018 Miriam Toews (P)2018 Knopf Canada

Critic Reviews

“An exquisite critique of patriarchal culture.... Stunningly original and altogether arresting.” (Kirkus Review, starred review)

“[A] sharp blade of a novel.... Toews’s eviscerating fictionalization of this incendiary reality focuses not on the violence but, rather, on the keen, subversive intelligence of the Mennonite women, their philosophical casts of mind, clashing personalities, and deep concerns about family and faith." (Booklist, starred review)  

“Compelling.... Women Talking is no ordinary book, and even before hitting the shelves it’s got people talking. Some who received advance copies, including Canadian writer Margaret Atwood, have placed it firmly in the camp of feminist books that will become part of a canon that questions the patriarchy.” (Deborah Dundas, Toronto Star)

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short and interesting

I loved how short this story was and that it spanned over just a couple of days. Enjoyable story that gives you a glimpse into a different culture.