Cover image for Women in a world at war : seven dispatches from the front
Women in a world at war : seven dispatches from the front
Gagnon, Madeleine, 1938-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Burnaby, B.C. : Talonbooks, [2003]

Physical Description:
319 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
Translation of: Les femmes et la guerre.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HQ1233 .G3313 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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In 1999, poet and novelist Madeleine Gagnon undertook to document the experience of women in the many war zones at the end of a "century of ashes" through their own eyes and in their own words. Her record of those encounters boldly confronts the harshest realities of and asks the most difficult questions about not only the horrors of war, but also the quest for justice, the experience of love and compassion, the inextinguishable hope for the future, and the will tolive--the humanity that endures against all odds.

Travelling to Macedonia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, Gagnon talked with women of all ages and social classes: those who fought side-by-side with men in wars of independence; who suffered terrible abuse in war; who lost their men, their homes, their children, their entire families; women working to heal the survivors, and those involved in different peace movements. She explores why women themselves have not found a way to put an end to war, why they continue, from generation to generation, to raise sons who make war and oppress women, what stake women themselves might have in war. And she dares to look within herself for the answers to these questions and for the roots of all conflict, war, and destruction. Elle magazine of France described this book as "sublime ... a long, strange poem that recalls the work of such giants of literary journalism as V.S. Naipaul and Ryszard Kapuscinski.

Author Notes

Madeleine Gagnon
Madeleine Gagnon has made a mark on Quebec literature as a poet, novelist, and non-fiction writer. Since 1969, she has published more than thirty books while at the same time teaching literature in several Quebec universities. Nancy Huston has described Madeleine Gagnon as someone in whom the boundary between inner and outer life is porous; her words are poetry and her ear for the words of others is poetry too. Everything she takes in from the world is filtered, processed, transformed by the insistent rhythms of the songs within her.

Phyllis Aronoff
Phyllis Aronoff lives in Montreal. She has a Master's degree in English literature. The Wanderer , her translation of La Québécoite by Régine Robin, won the 1998 Jewish Book Award for fiction. She and Howard Scott were awarded the 2001 Quebec Writers' Federation Translation Awardfor The Great Peace of Montreal of 1701 . She is currently president of the LTAC.

Howard Scott
Howard Scott is a Montreal literary translator who specializes in the genres of fiction and non-fiction. His literary translations include works by Quebec writer Madeleine Gagnon and Quebec science fiction writer Ã%lisabeth Vonarburg. In 1997, Scott received the prestigious Governor General's Translation Award for his work on Louky Bersianik's The Euguelion .

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

This deeply powerful but often dark work vividly depicts how the horrors of war affect the personal lives of women. French-Canadian writer Gagnon traveled to many of the world's trouble spots, interviewing women from Macedonia, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Israel and Palestine, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Representing a variety of ages and social classes, these women reveal firsthand how rape and other atrocities so frequently committed against women are seen as weapons of war. The societal impact is profound: if discovered, these women can never marry and, if married, will be abandoned by their husbands. Each story brings to the forefront the abject cruelty brought about in the name of ethnic cleansing, religion, or political idealism and the impact this has on the women of that country. There is little relief from the stark realism portrayed in this powerful book, but these women's strength and will to survive come through in a dynamic way. Despite the differences among societies, there are many commonalties in the overall attitudes toward women's reproductive, political, and economic rights. An essential component of any women's studies collection, this is also suitable for large public libraries.-Melody Ballard, Washoe Cty. Lib. Syst., Reno, NV (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.