NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE, STARRING RACHEL WEISZ AND RACHEL MCADAMS
By the age of 32, Ronit has left London and transformed her life. She has become a cigarette-smoking, wise-cracking, New York career woman, who is in love with a married man.
But when Ronit's father dies she is called back into the very different world of her childhood, a world she thought she had left far behind. The orthodox Jewish suburb of Hendon, north London is outraged by Ronit and her provocative ways. But Ronit is shocked too by the confrontation with her past. And when she meets up with her childhood girlfriend Esti, she is forced to think again about what she has left behind.
From the author of The Power, winner of the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2017, Naomi Alderman's Disobedience is an insightful and witty novel on the search for love, tolerance and faith.
'Funny, tender and insightful' Guardian
'A wonderful novel . . . rich and fresh and fascinating' Sunday Times
Alderman draws on her Orthodox Jewish upbringing and current life in Hendon, England, for her entertaining debut, which won the Orange Prize for New Writers after it was published in the U.K. in March. In writing about the inhabitants of this small, gossipy society, Alderman cleverly uses a slightly sinister, omniscient "we" to represent a community that speaks with one voice, and her descriptions of Orthodox customs are richly embroidered. Alternating with this perspective is the first-person narrative of Ronit Krushka, a woman who has left the community and is now a financial analyst in New York. After the death of her estranged father, a powerful rabbi, Ronit returns to England to mourn her father and to confront her past, including a female lover. But Ronit's shock that an Orthodox lesbian would marry a man rings false, as does her casually condescending attitude toward the community. By the time of the theatrical, unrealistic climax, Ronit's struggle between religious and secular imperatives gets reduced to clich ("all we have, in the end, are the choices we make"), but Ronit works well as a vehicle for the opinion that even the most alienated New York Judaism is preferable to the English version, where "the Jewish fear of being noticed and the natural British reticence interact."