“No, Ernie, says Agata, there’s no plot, we’re only women talking.”
I’m currently working on a novel that features a religious community, so a writer friend of mine recommended I read this book. She told me it was based on the real case of a Mennonite community in which women of all ages were raped in their sleep by some men from the same community who were using an animal anaesthetic to render them unconscious. Their complaints were dismissed by the elders – who went as far as to suggest the women were being attacked by demons – until the truth was revealed.
Toews’ novel focuses on the aftermath of these traumatic events. A group of women meet at a barn to discuss what they are going to do next. The options are to stay and forgive the men, to stay and fight back, or to leave the community. The story is narrated by August, the only man allowed in the barn with these women, who’s taking the minutes of the meeting because none of the women knows how to read or write.
We Can Do Better Than This: 35 Voices on the Future of LGTBQ+ Rights, edited by Amelia Abraham
I read Amelia Abraham’s Queer Intentions last year and really enjoyed it. Her writing style is very engaging and she covered many interesting LGTBQ+ topics that I wasn’t aware of (I found the chapter on drag really fascinating, for example). We Can Do Better Than This contains essays by thirty-five different writers, artists and LGTBQ+ advocates. To fit in so many essays they are – understandably – all relatively short which is all in all a good idea to include a vast array of perspectives. Some essays, written by authors from countries like Nigeria or Bangladesh, where being gay is illegal, are particularly heartbreaking.
Un día de tormenta. Me levanto y lo primero que hago es mirar la aplicación del tiempo de la BBC en mi móvil. La mañana empieza tranquila, y el viento y la lluvia no llegan hasta la hora de comer.
A las doce y poco de la mañana salgo a correr. Ya ha empezado a llover pero es una llovizna fina, y como aún hace calor, ni siquiera es molesta. Me he mudado a un lugar nuevo (del norte al sur de Inglaterra) y mi nueva ruta de correr no es tan bonita como la que tenía antes. Corro por calles tranquilas, cruzo una avenida transitada y paso por un parque rodeado de casas victorianas que aparentemente son de las más caras de la ciudad. El parque es un parche verde pequeño, pero los árboles son altos: hay castaños, robles e incluso una auracaria. El cesped está lleno de caracoles, así que siempre tengo que ir mirando para no pisarlos. En el parque veo muchos perros, todos de raza (ahí sí que se nota esta es una parte de bien) trotando al lado de sus dueños que los sacan a pasear. Pero como es la hora de comer hoy no hay casi nadie. Tampoco niños o bebés en carrito.
I went to watch Nope at the end of August this year. I’ve never watched a film by Jordan Peele before but I’d heard great things about them. This was also the second movie I watched in the cinema since the pandemic started (I watched Dune in October 2021 and it was a glorious experience, mostly because I hadn’t been in the cinema for so long, also, the cinematography and the music of that movie are a true work of art… the story… well, let’s discuss that another day).
Sure, 2021 feels like a decade ago, especially because, thanks to Covid-19, that whole year felt like a very long day. But this was also a very fruitful year reading-wise for me, and before I wanted to share three of the books that stayed with me and that I still keep thinking about to this date. A list of interesting readings from 2022 shall follow in due course…