As part of the By The Lake Book Club’s 2018-19 season, author Miriam Toews will be discussing her latest novel, Women Talking, with interviewer Wendy O’Brien.
The sun rises on a quiet June morning in 2009. August Epp sits alone in the hayloft of a barn, anxiously bent over his notebook. He writes quickly, aware that his solitude will soon be broken. Eight women–ordinary grandmothers, mothers and teenagers; yet to August, each one extraordinary– will climb the ladder into the loft, and the day’s true task will begin. This task will be both simple and subversive: August, like the women, is a traditional Mennonite, and he has been asked to record a secret conversation.
Thus begins Miriam Toews’ spellbinding novel. Gradually, as we hear the women’s vivid voices console, tease, admonish, regale and debate each other, we piece together the reason for the gathering: they have forty-eight hours to make a life-altering choice on behalf of all the women and children in the colony. And like a vast night sky coming into view behind the bright sparks of their voices, we learn of the devastating events that have led to this moment.
For more information about this event and to buy tickets, call the Assembly Hall at 416-338-7255 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By The Lake Book Club’s programme partners include the Toronto International Festival of Authors, Assembly Hall and the Humber School of Creative & Performing Arts.
Wendy O’Brien is a Hamilton-based philosopher and avid reader. She is the host of By The Lake Book Club, sponsored by The Humber School for Writers and The City of Toronto, Bryan Prince Bookseller’s Interview Series and Bourbon & Books. She teaches at Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning where she is currently working on a study of the concept of wonder.
Miriam Toews is the author of five previous bestselling novels: Summer of My Amazing Luck, A Boy of Good Breeding, A Complicated Kindness (Canada Reads 2006, Canada Reads Canadian Bestseller of the Decade 2010), The Flying Troutmans, and Irma Voth, and one work of non-fiction, Swing Low: A Life. She is a winner of the Governor General’s Award for Fiction, the Libris Award for Fiction Book of the Year, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and the Writers Trust Marian Engel/Timothy Findley Award. She lives in Toronto.