Joan Thomas: Five Wives
In the tradition of The Poisonwood Bible and State of Wonder, a novel set in the rainforest of Ecuador about five women left behind when their missionary husbands are killed, Five Wives is based on the shocking real-life events
In 1956, a small group of evangelical Christian missionaries and their families journeyed to the rainforest in Ecuador intending to convert the Waorani, a people who had never had contact with the outside world. The plan was known as Operation Auca. After spending days dropping gifts from an aircraft, the five men in the party rashly entered the “intangible zone.” They were all killed, leaving their wives and children to fend for themselves.
Five Wives is the fictionalized account of the real-life women who were left behind, and their struggles – with grief, with doubt, and with each other – as they continued to pursue their evangelical mission in the face of the explosion of fame that followed their husbands’ deaths.
Winner of the 2019 Governor-General’s Literary Award for Fiction.
This Lecture is part of the 2020-21 Literary Lecture Series, a popular series has been described as a cross between a traditional book club and a university course without exams. Registration for this event is currently restricted to registration for the Thursday Series (available here) or the Full Subscription Series (available here).
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