Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Trailer Park Tuesday: Women Talking by Miriam Toews





The Margaret Atwood comparisons are inevitable. Dust the surface and Miriam Toews’ new novel Women Talking bears a thematic resemblance to Atwood’s classic The Handmaid’s Tale, but go below that superficiality and Women Talking takes on a frightening life of its own. Here, for instance, is the plot description:
One evening, eight Mennonite women climb into a hay loft to conduct a secret meeting. For the past two years, each of these women, and more than a hundred other girls in their colony, has been repeatedly violated in the night by demons coming to punish them for their sins. Now that the women have learned they were in fact drugged and attacked by a group of men from their own community, they are determined to protect themselves and their daughters from future harm. While the men of the colony are off in the city, attempting to raise enough money to bail out the rapists and bring them home, these women―all illiterate, without any knowledge of the world outside their community and unable even to speak the language of the country they live in―have very little time to make a choice: Should they stay in the only world they’ve ever known or should they dare to escape? Based on real events and told through the “minutes” of the women’s all-female symposium, Toews’s masterful novel uses wry, politically engaged humor to relate this tale of women claiming their own power to decide.

Can I get a collective “Whoa!”? My heart hurts just reading about what I’ll find in the pages of this novel. But Women Talking sounds too good and important not to hear to what it has to say.

For its part, the trailer is remarkably effective in its Mennonite-simplicity, making powerful use of the cover design’s image of pale women, cloistered and half-hidden by stern bonnets. And when it starts multiplying those bonnets into an infinite line, it makes its point loud and clear: listen and learn. Any questions?

Trailer Park Tuesday is a showcase of new book trailers and, in a few cases, previews of book-related movies.


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