About a decade ago, a group of Mennonite men in Bolivia were arrested for repeatedly drugging and raping over 100 women and girls in their colony. Within the community, they’d blamed the attacks on demons sent to punish their victims for their sins. In her eighth book, Toews—who grew up Mennonite in Manitoba, Canada imagines a clandestine meeting of the colony’s women, as they discuss whether to forgive and forget, to rehabilitate the culprits or abandon the only home they’ve ever known. Literally a record of women talking, the novel balances high-stakes philosophical debate with tenderness and humor. The liveliness of this discourse among illiterate farmers’ wives becomes, in itself, a call to arms against the subjugation of women everywhere.
Buy now: Women Talking