A fair share of horrors: February 2023 reading log

Book Review, Books, Horror, Literary Fiction
Photo credits: Jacques Peltre

Women Talking by Miriam Toews

“No, Ernie, says Agata, there’s no plot, we’re only women talking.”

Miriam Toews

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.

But… where are the murders?: January 2023 Reading Log

Book Review, Books, Literary Fiction, Queer Literature, Speculative Fiction
Photo credits: Cuba Gallery

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.