Parnassus Books is thrilled to welcome Miriam Toews, author of Women Talking.
Based on actual events that happened between 2005 and 2009 in a remote Mennonite community where more than 100 girls and women were drugged unconscious and assaulted in the night by what they were told (by the men of the colony) were "ghosts" or "demons," Miriam Toews' bold and affecting novel Women Talking is an imagined response to these real events.
The novel takes place over forty-eight hours, as eight women gather in secret in a neighbour's barn while the men are in a nearby town posting bail for the attackers. They have come together to debate, on behalf of all the women and children in the community, whether to stay or leave before the men return. Taking minutes is the one man trusted and invited by the women to witness the conversation--a former outcast whose own surprising story is revealed as the women speak.
By turns poignant, witty, acerbic, bitter, tender, devastating, and heartbreaking, the voices in this extraordinary novel are unforgettable. Toews has chosen to focus the novel tightly on a particular time and place, and yet it contains within its 48 hours and setting inside a hayloft an entire vast universe of thinking and feeling about the experience of women (and therefore men, too) in our contemporary world. In a word: astonishing.
Miriam Toews’ most recent novel, the bestselling All My Puny Sorrows, was published in 2014 to wide acclaim. It won the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Canadian Authors Association Award for Fiction, and was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Folio Prize and the Wellcome Book Prize, among other accolades. It also appeared on many year-end best-book lists, nationally and internationally. Toews is the author of five other bestselling novels: Summer of My Amazing Luck, A Boy of Good Breeding, A Complicated Kindness (winner of the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction, winner of Canada Reads, and a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize), The Flying Troutmans and Irma Voth, and one work of non-fiction, Swing Low: A Life. In addition to the awards mentioned above, she has also won the Libris Award for Fiction Book of the Year, the Writers' Trust Marian Engel/Timothy Findley Award, and Italy's Sinbad Award for Fiction. Miriam Toews lives in Toronto.