Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Seven novels that explore consent and coercion

Amanda Montei is the author of Touched Out: Motherhood, Misogyny, Consent, & Control, as well as the memoir Two Memoirs and a collection of prose, The Failure Age.

Her work has been featured at The New York Times, The Guardian, ELLE, TIME, and in numerous literary journals. She was a 2020 Best American Essays notable.

At Lit Hub Montei tagged "seven novels that deal with questions of consent and coercion" and which "offer new ways of understanding what it’s like to live in a culture of male control, showing how narrative can be a tool for expanding the language we have to describe women’s pain, as well as for resistance." One title on the list:
Miriam Toews, Women Talking

Toews’ novel opens with a note about “the wild female imagination”—something men weaponize to silence women when they come forward about abuse, but also a weapon that women themselves can wield to survive in a world disavows their reality. I love how this book circles around the limited options women feel they have available in the face of violence—as if the only choices are to fight or flee—and how it highlights the power of community and public speech to move beyond those limits.
Read about another entry on the list.

Women Talking is among Anjanette Delgado's seven books for when your life has radically changed.

--Marshal Zeringue