Review: “Disobedience” by Naomi Alderman

Thumbs up for Disobedience by Naomi Alderman. Literature.

Lesbian love amongst an Orthodox Jewish community in London. I stayed up late to finish this book. That said, it is a peculiar work. Told in sometimes-awkward but strangely-relaxing third person from the perspective of Esti (who has stayed in the community), alternating with the just-borderline-irritating first person narrative of Ronit (who has moved to New York and become relentlessly cosmopolitan), along with sections of…Torah mysticism? As well as the perspective of Esti’s husband Dovid—who, if normal narrative choices were being made here, would play the part of the hated antagonist, the unwanted third part of a love triangle. But he, too, is merely human, and is trying his best. I loved all of the different layers of the ending. An unusual, but ultimately lovely book.

At eight o’clock she found herself deeply hungry. She made a stack of thick pancakes, anointed with lemon and sugar. She ate, rolling each crisp, warm mouthful across her tongue, chewing with delight. She could not remember the last time she had cooked like this only for herself. Was her food always this good? It had never been quite this delicious, surely? The telephone rang again, shivering in the fridge [where she had put it to avoid the caller]. She could just hear it if she placed her ear to the refrigerator door. She listened courteously until it was done. Shortly afterward, she heard the sound of stirring upstairs. Ronit? No, not loud enough, no banging. Just gentle, methodical movement. She walked upstairs.


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