Disobedience is a novel that explores the complex relationships between family, faith, and sexuality in the Orthodox Jewish community. The story follows the life of Ronit, a young woman who grew up in a strict Jewish community in London but left to pursue a non-religious life in New York. When she returns to London to attend the funeral of her father, a prominent rabbi, Ronit is forced to confront the community and people she left behind.
Alderman masterfully captures the tensions and contradictions that exist within the Orthodox Jewish community, and her characters are well-explored.
Alderman’s writing style is both lyrical and insightful, with full attention to detail. Her prose is elegant and evocative, often drawing on sensory descriptions to bring the world of the novel to life. Alderman’s writing is particularly great at capturing the emotions and internal conflicts of her characters, and she is able to convey complex psychological states with subtlety. I really enjoyed her ability to shift seamlessly between different narrative perspectives. The novel is narrated from multiple points of view, including those of Ronit, Esti, and Dovid. And Alderman allows the reader to see the events of the novel from multiple angles, and to gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of the characters and their relationships.
The novel discusses so many interesting and thought-provoking topics, including the tension between individual desire and traditional religious expectations, the intersection of faith and sexuality, the complexity of human relationships, the complexities of family and community dynamics, and the struggle for personal identity and authenticity in the face of social pressures.
I also thought the exploration of the role of women in the Orthodox Jewish community very intriguing. Through the character of Esti, Ronit’s childhood friend and former lover, she examines the ways in which women are marginalized and silenced within the community. Esti’s story is both heartbreaking and inspiring, and her journey toward self-discovery and liberation is one of the most compelling parts of the novel.
All in all this novel is a powerful and thought-provoking novel that explores complex themes with great insight. It is a deeply moving story of love, loss, and the struggle to find one’s place in the world.