Women Talking

Hardcover, 240 pages

English language

Published Aug. 30, 2018 by Faber & Faber, Limited.


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4 stars (4 reviews)

Between 2005 and 2009, in a remote religious Mennonite colony, over a hundred girls and women were knocked unconscious and raped, often repeatedly, by what many thought were ghosts or demons, as a punishment for their sins. As the women tentatively began to share the details of the attacks—waking up sore and bleeding and not understanding why—their stories were chalked up to ‘wild female imagination.’

Women Talking is an imagined response to these real events. Eight women, all illiterate, without any knowledge of the world outside their colony and unable even to speak the language of the country they live in, meet secretly in a hayloft with the intention of making a decision about how to protect themselves and their daughters from future harm. They have two days to make a plan, while the men of the colony are away in the city attempting to raise enough money to bail …

6 editions

Gorgeous and complex on an unimaginably horrid situation

5 stars

I’m still wrestling with this! She writes so sensitively and often affectingly obliquely about the tragedy that was forced on these women and their efforts to work through agency and safety and faith and love. I would not recommend this for anyone who has suffered sexual abuse without a great deal of preparation ahead of time

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4 stars
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3 stars
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5 stars


  • Mennonites, fiction
  • Fiction, women