Women Talking is a novel of fiction based on the real-life event of a colony of Mennonites in Bolivia.
Between 2005 and 2009, the women and girls of the colony would wake, bruised and bloodied, having been attacked the night before as they slept. The men of the colony blamed the women, telling them they were being punished for their sins by ghosts and demons. It was later revealed that the women were being sedated with animal anesthetic and raped by some of the male members of the community.
This is the story of the women – all illiterate, with no knowledge of anything outside their religious community, meeting in secret to figure out how to protect their children and themselves and the choices they must make to do so.
This was a heart wrenching, powerful read that is not to be missed.— Katie
“Women Talking is an eloquent exploration of how a group mind coalesces — as a kind of vision that comes in fits and starts, arguments and digression — to finally arrive at a decision. Or, read another way, it’s a compelling examination of the opposing voices in our own heads as we wrestle with impossible choices between the known and the unknown. What’s most compelling about Toews’ novel is its lack of sensationalism and how it shows real people struggling through the aftermath of devastating violence. Grounded in a religious culture where suffering and obedience are an expectation, these women grapple with uneasy answers to what’s best for themselves and their children. Women Talking is the quiet, startling story of coming to terms with how, or if, we save ourselves.”
— Steve Mitchell, Scuppernong Books, Greensboro, NC