The Next Chapter·Bedside Books

Jenn Grant was left speechless reading Miriam Toews' novel Women Talking

The Halifax-based folk pop singer-songwriter talks about the book she's reading.
Jenn Grant is a folk pop singer-songwriter based in Halifax. (Vintage Canada)

Jenn Grant is a folk pop singer-songwriter from Halifax. Grant won best new artist and best female artist at the Nova Scotia Music Awards in 2006, is known for bestselling albums Honeymoon Punch and Love, Inevitable, and recently released her debut holiday album, Forever on Christmas Eve.

Grant loves to read and spoke with The Next Chapter about talk about reading the novel Women Talking by Miriam Toews.

"Women Talking is book is an imagined response to a series of rapes that happened between 2005 and 2008 in a Mennonite community in Bolivia. There are these women that were waking up in the middle of the night, bloody and bruised, and knowing that they had been attacked. 

"They were told that it was either ghosts or demons that were attacking them for their sins, or sometimes they were told that it was the 'female wild imagination,' that they were just imagining it. But eventually they discovered they were real. 

There are large issues that are addressed in the book — like male authority and inherent misogyny, the culture of control, spirituality and suffering and rape and trauma and even forgiveness.

"There were these eight men who were accused. So these women have 48 hours to decide if they're going to stay and try to deal with it in some way, or if they're going to leave their community when obviously they've never left their community before. It's a grand decision that they have to make. 

"There are large issues that are addressed in the book — like male authority and inherent misogyny, the culture of control, spirituality and suffering and rape and trauma and even forgiveness. One of the great things about this book is that there are these big dark issues.

"But the book is also balanced with some lighter moments that happen, moments of love. These are the moments that show the women as real people."

Jenn Grant's comments have been edited for length and clarity.

Watch the video for song Downtown Christmas Eve by Jenn Grant

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