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Taking back their nights

Cover of Women Talking
A review of Women Talking by Miriam Toews

I'm behind in my movie watching so I only recently watched the adaptation of this excellent novel. And while the movie was beautifully done, it made me realize just how much the novel had impacted me.

Based on a real events, Toews' slim, powerful novel is true to its name. One evening eight Mennonite women living in an isolated community in Bolivia meet to discuss and make a choice that will change their lives irrevocably - whatever they decide. These eight women, along with more than a hundred other girls and women in their community have been suffering repeated sexual violations for years. And while that is devastating, and it has been devastating to them, the fact that it's members of their own community who have perpetrated these horrors makes their situation that much worse. The goal of their meeting is ultimately to vote: forgive, fight, or leave. Once they make the call, the other women and younger children in the community will abide by their choice.

The construct is simple but the result is anything but. This is a powerful exploration of women re-claiming their own power and agency and though the subject matter is dark, the mood ranges from pathos to humor and back again, sometimes all within the space of a sentence or two. Masterfully done and equally wonderful is the movie based on the book. Normally I'd say read the book first, but both are so well done that I think you're okay to do them in either order. But do seek them out if, you, like me, hadn't done so yet.

Apr 25, 2024